After the City of St. Augustine closed the Protestant (Huguenot) Cemetery, a new location west of the city was selected as its replacement. Evergreen Cemetery opened in 1886 and soon became the largest Protestant cemetery in northeast Florida. The plan for Evergreen was influenced by the Rural Cemetery Movement of the 19th century. The National Register Bulletin describes this style:
In the early “rural” cemeteries and in those which followed their pattern, hilly, wooded sites were enhanced by grading, selective thinning of trees, and massing of plant materials which directed views opening onto broad vistas. The cemetery gateway established separation from the workaday world, and a winding drive of gradual ascent slowed progress to a stately pace. Such settings stirred an appreciation of nature and a sense of the continuity of life.
The older sections of the cemetery are shaded with old palms and live oak trees. Spanish moss sways in the breeze and many azalea and camilla bushes will provide color from now into the Easter season. A meandering pond splits the cemetery in half and adds to the tranquility. The newer sections are a stark contrast – flat with almost no shade.
Among the cemetery’s notable residents is Randolph Caldecott, the 19th century British artist noted for his beautifully illustrated childrens’ books. Mr. Caldecott died suddenly on February 12, 1886 while visiting St. Augustine and was one of the first burials at Evergreen.
The cemetery office is located just inside the gate and the staff was very helpful, providing maps and information on the cemetery’s history and features. This map provides an aerial view of the cemetery as it looks today. A cemetery survey is available at the St. Augustine Genealogical Society site.
- National Park Service: National Register Bulletin. Guidelines for Evaluating and Registering Cemeteries and Burial Places. Online at http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/publications/bulletins/nrb41/nrb41_5.htm. Accessed January 2, 2009.
- Wikipedia. Rural Cemetery. Online at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_cemetery. Accessed January 2, 2009.