On a lazy Saturday, with nothing to do and nowhere to be, we decided to take a trip to Evergreen Cemetery – the oldest nondenominational cemetery in Los Angeles (established in 1877)…and so much more.
The cemetery is huge, 300,000 graves in 67 acres. It houses Los Angeles Pioneers, a memorial to (and the remains of) Carnival and Circus Workers, the 442 Infantry Regiment of fallen Japanese-American soldiers that fought in WWII, as well as a Chinese potters fields. The cemetery itself did not discriminate (in terms of whom could be buried on its grounds) but it did separate ethnic groups. As a result, the Mexican, Japanese, African-American, White, and Potters fields are all easily identifiable.
Buried within the gates of the cemetery are some of L.A.’s Founding Fathers: Van Nuys (founder of Van Nuys), Lankershim (Pioneer of California for whom Lankershim Blvd. is named), Hollenbeck (Developer and Early Los Angeles Entrepreneur), and Bixby (father of Long Beach). Walking through the grounds, finding these graves, and connecting a memorial to a part of the city helped shorten the distances of the Los Angeles County (at least figuratively).
For the most part the cemetery is well preserved -this was previously not the case. Well marked, albeit narrow roads, wind through the cemetery so that if you wanted to drive-it instead of walk-it, you could. Note however that parking is limited, and just pulling to one side of the road does not give another car enough space to navigate.
The grass in most places is uncut. Grave markers resting directly on the ground are easily missed and can be easily stepped on. I recommend that you wear closed toed shoes as there are no marked paths between the plots and the grass in most spots rises well above your ankles.
I recommend a visit, at the very least to connect with the past. And, if for no other reason than to see a cemetery akin to what you might be accustom to seeing in the Mid-West and East Coast. All in all we spent an hour and a half, quietly meandering from one area to another, enjoying new perspective on our past.
Established in 1877, Evergreen Cemetery is the oldest nondenominational cemetery in Los Angeles, with numerous prominent interments on its grounds. Established in 1877, Evergreen Cemetery is the oldest nondenominational cemetery in Los Angeles, with numerous prominent interments on its grounds.