Evergreen stretched on and on in
every direction, with so many stones and markers that it would have
taken us days to try and chronicle it all. Alas, we didn't have
days, and I was just glad that we had the time to at least wander
through it as much of it as we did, there were many fascinating sights
to see. As we headed back to where we parked Lobo pointed out an
Alamo-esque structure that sat nestled into a hillside in the
cemetery; it was all but invisible from any angle but the front.
Perhaps it held remains of the departed at one time, perhaps not... it
was empty when we saw it and I am not certain exactly what it's
function was. After a few jokes about locking me in behind it's iron
gates, we made our way out of Evergreen and back into the land of the
Evergreen Memorial Park is a lovely
old cemetery and very much worth a visit to those who find fascination
in the fields of the dead...
Our friend Synchronicity was kind
enough to send us the following information about this great old
"Some background info about Evergreen
Evergreen is the oldest cemetery in Riverside proper, and thus
contains the remains of city pioneers and founders. Having been there,
you surely noticed the stark difference between the newer part of the
cemetery and the three oldest sections. This is because the cemetery
did not begin as an "endowment care" facility. In simple terms, when
you buy a plot in an endowment cemetery, your money goes into a sort
of mutual fund that pays for all the on-going costs of maintenance,
theoretically to perpetuity. The newer portions of Evergreen are
endowed, and it shows. The older sections were not set up as such, and
there has been no money even to water the weeds for many, many years.
Evergreen is in a Catch-22 situation - because the pioneer section is
part of an operating, private cemetery, public funds cannot be used to
maintain it. However, the operators of Evergreen Cemetery also cannot
maintain it, as endowment funds may only be used to maintain plots
purchased as endowed.
It's a mess :( However, several local groups have taken up the cause,
raising funds for restoration and hoping to establish a $1.5 million
trust to "endow" those sections into perpetuity. I am involved in that
Now, some items of interest ...
The Woodmen of the World was a fraternal organization founded in the
late 1800's. Early on, when a member dies, the hat was passed to
provide burial funds. Eventually, the organization started offering
life insurance to its members, and provided grave markers. These very
distinctive gravemarkers, which often look like trees or stacks of
firewood, are fairly uncommon in California, however you can find
quite a large number at Evergreen. This is because the Woodmen of the
World established a home for their aging members here in the early
1900\'s. You have a photo of a W.o.W. monument
Your Alamo-esque structure is, in fact, a tunnel that connects with
the 'catacombs' under the Mission Inn, a few miles away. (The passage
is blocked now, so no need to kick yourself for missing the chance)
Entering the newer section at the gate directly south of the
non-endowed sections, there is an open, square structure. In a
crescent moon shape hugging back corner of that structure, is an
'angel garden' full of infants who perished during the 1918 flu
Evergreen also has a section for vets of the War of 1812 and a Masonic
The "gouge" in the ground that you took note of is probably a trench
for the irrigation we hope to install.
The most important item of interest is that we're trying to bring
this cemetery back to life, so to speak, and that anyone can help by
donating to the Friends of Evergreen Cemetery:
Next time you're in Riverside, it should look MUCH better! Also, you
might like a visit to Olivewood, the second oldest cemetery in
Riverside proper. Olivewood has a huge number of Chinese burials."
WOW- fascinating stuff...
thanks Syncronicity! I hope that all of you cemetery lovers out there
will visit their site and help their cause- Re-Green Evergreen!!
Also, our visitor Hanna sent us this
info: "Just a note that the interesting Alamo looking structure in
Evergreen Cemetery/Memorial park in Riverside, CA is called the 'Cold
Storage'. Built before there was refrigeration."
And Rev. Joel+ tells us this: "This
is the medal and ribbon awarded to Veterans of the Union Forces from
the War between the States. The G.A.R. is for "Grand Army of the
I enjoy your site. It is very creative.
Do you have any background information or stories to tell about this
to purchase one of these, or any of my other photos...?
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