The Evergreen Cemetary Association was established as a non-profit organization in November 1872. The cemetery that was sited on the edge of the Mile Square established by John W. North’s Southern California Colony Association was conceived in the spirit of the “Rural Cemetery” movement, typified by Mount Auburn in Boston Massachusetts and Spring Grove in Cincinnati, Ohio. Later, when the organization was re-incorporated in 1890, the spelling of “cemetary” was changed to the current version with an “e” for the final vowel.
Here, the restful, park-like atmosphere comforted the bereaved, and death was presented as a peaceful repose. Like Evergreen, these cemeteries were sited away from the heart of the town or city, and visitors were always welcome to stroll the decomposed granite walkways and contemplate the lawns, shrubs, and trees. With the exception of two brief periods, in the 1880s and again in the 1980s, Evergreen lived up to its name until a change in the laws regarding the use of cemetery funds caused it to fall into ruin after 2000. Restoration efforts began in 2005 and are ongoing.
Photo © Benoit Malphettes