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A Map Guide to Los Angeles's Fascinating Oldest Cemetery

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You wouldn't know from Evergreen Cemetery's many cracked and stained gravemarkers and browning, patchy grass (which has outraged the families of those interred and an LA County Supe), but it's one of the most fascinating cemeteries in a town full of fascinating cemeteries. LA's oldest *nondenominational cemetery, founded in 1877, didn't discriminate against people of color when other cemeteries did. (Though sometimes it wouldn't bury them inside the cemetery or would segregate when it did.) As a result, visitors to the grounds can see headstones of African-Americans, people of Chinese and Japanese descent, and immigrants from around the world interred in the same final resting spot as well-off whites and notable people of all ethnicities and origins—Japanese-American soldiers who left internment camps to fight in World War II, the long-time editor of the oldest African-American newspaper in the state, the Lankershims and Van Nuyses. The cemetery provides a well-rounded snapshot of LA's diversity through the years that can hardly been seen anywhere else. We've mapped some of its most interesting sites.

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1. 442nd Infantry Memorial

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A 1949 monument honoring the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Unit, WWII soldiers of Japanese descent, some of whom left internment camps to fight in the war. In 2010, the entire unit received the Congressional Medal of Honor. [Image via Find A Grave]

2. Isaac Lankershim and Isaac Van Nuys

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204 North Evergreen Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Lankershim and his son-in-law, Isaac Newton Van Nuys (also buried here), developed the San Fernando Valley. The street named after Lankershim is well-known, but there was briefly a city named for him, too. It's called North Hollywood now. [Image via WHEC]

3. Historic-Cultural Monument #486: Nineteenth Century Los Angeles Chinese Cemetery Shrine

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This shrine, originally created in 1888, was restored in the '90s. It's easy to spot: it consists of two large kilns and an altar. [Image via Gloria Molina]

4. Garden of the Pines

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204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA

This section with a central pine tree is dedicated to LA's Issei, the first Japanese people to immigrate. [Image via WHEC]

5. Pacific Coast Showmen Assn.

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According to Evergreen Los Angeles, this monument (and another to the Ladies' Auxiliary) marks a section of the cemetery reserved for "indigent men and women entertainers including circus performers." [Image via WHEC]

6. Joseph Winchester Robinson

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204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA

Founder of Downtown's Boston Dry Goods Store, which went on to become Robinson's, and later, Robinson's May. [Image via Find A Grave]

7. George A. Ralphs

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Yep, it's that Ralphs: the founder of the Ralphs grocery store chain. [Image via Find A Grave]

8. Toyo Miyatake

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204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA

A working commercial photographer in LA at the time of WWII internment, Miyatake used a makeshift wooden camera box and a smuggled lens and film to photograph life at Manzanar. Mitayake's highly respected work survives today and was exhibited recently. [Image via Find A Grave]

9. Charlotta Amanda Bass

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204 North Evergreen Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033
WHEC

]

10. Biddy Mason

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204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA

A former slave who won her freedom in California, Mason worked as a midwife and was one of the first African-Americans to buy land in LA (land-ownership made her wealthy). She founded the city's first black church, First African Methodist Episcopal. Regardless of her prominence, she was buried here in an unmarked grave until, in 1988, then-Mayor Tom Bradley rectified this by putting up a gravemarker. [Image via WHEC]

11. Memorial Wall to Chinese Laborers

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204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA
Gold Line Eastside construction outside the cemetery

in 2005 unearthed 174 graves of poor Chinese laborers. The bodies were buried inside the cemetery and marked with a memorial in 2010. [Image via WHEC]

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1. 442nd Infantry Memorial

Los Angeles, CA 90063

A 1949 monument honoring the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Unit, WWII soldiers of Japanese descent, some of whom left internment camps to fight in the war. In 2010, the entire unit received the Congressional Medal of Honor. [Image via Find A Grave]

2. Isaac Lankershim and Isaac Van Nuys

204 North Evergreen Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Lankershim and his son-in-law, Isaac Newton Van Nuys (also buried here), developed the San Fernando Valley. The street named after Lankershim is well-known, but there was briefly a city named for him, too. It's called North Hollywood now. [Image via WHEC]

204 North Evergreen Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033

3. Historic-Cultural Monument #486: Nineteenth Century Los Angeles Chinese Cemetery Shrine

Los Angeles, CA 90063

This shrine, originally created in 1888, was restored in the '90s. It's easy to spot: it consists of two large kilns and an altar. [Image via Gloria Molina]

4. Garden of the Pines

204 evergreen, Los Angeles, CA

This section with a central pine tree is dedicated to LA's Issei, the first Japanese people to immigrate. [Image via WHEC]

204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA

5. Pacific Coast Showmen Assn.

Los Angeles, CA 90063

According to Evergreen Los Angeles, this monument (and another to the Ladies' Auxiliary) marks a section of the cemetery reserved for "indigent men and women entertainers including circus performers." [Image via WHEC]

6. Joseph Winchester Robinson

204 evergreen, Los Angeles, CA

Founder of Downtown's Boston Dry Goods Store, which went on to become Robinson's, and later, Robinson's May. [Image via Find A Grave]

204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA

7. George A. Ralphs

Los Angeles, CA 90063

Yep, it's that Ralphs: the founder of the Ralphs grocery store chain. [Image via Find A Grave]

8. Toyo Miyatake

204 evergreen, Los Angeles, CA

A working commercial photographer in LA at the time of WWII internment, Miyatake used a makeshift wooden camera box and a smuggled lens and film to photograph life at Manzanar. Mitayake's highly respected work survives today and was exhibited recently. [Image via Find A Grave]

204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA

9. Charlotta Amanda Bass

204 North Evergreen Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033
WHEC

]

204 North Evergreen Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033

10. Biddy Mason

204 evergreen, Los Angeles, CA

A former slave who won her freedom in California, Mason worked as a midwife and was one of the first African-Americans to buy land in LA (land-ownership made her wealthy). She founded the city's first black church, First African Methodist Episcopal. Regardless of her prominence, she was buried here in an unmarked grave until, in 1988, then-Mayor Tom Bradley rectified this by putting up a gravemarker. [Image via WHEC]

204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA

11. Memorial Wall to Chinese Laborers

204 evergreen, Los Angeles, CA
Gold Line Eastside construction outside the cemetery

in 2005 unearthed 174 graves of poor Chinese laborers. The bodies were buried inside the cemetery and marked with a memorial in 2010. [Image via WHEC]

204 evergreen
Los Angeles, CA