Evergreen Cemetery

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Richmond, VA
United States
Evergreen Cemetery

Landscape Information

Established in 1891, this burial ground is situated on a hilly landscape approximately three miles east of downtown Richmond, on the opposite side of Stony Run Creek from Oakwood Cemetery. Initially sited on 46 acres and conceived as an African American counterpart to the Hollywood Cemetery (which only accommodated burials of Whites) on the west side of Richmond, Evergreen eventually grew to 59 acres comprising approximately 10,000 burial plots. James T. Redd & Sons designed the original plan, with vehicular roads running east-west and smaller concrete walking paths running north-south, forming an irregular grid pattern interrupted by a few curvilinear lanes. A cobblestone driveway (no longer extant) provided a dramatic entry from East Richmond Road to the rolling hills dotted with marble and granite statues, obelisks, and monuments. Stonemason Henry Brown designed many of the headstones, although some graves have simple metal tags on stands or no marker at all. Before the cemetery became overgrown by forest, the precipice on its western flank afforded views of the creek and downtown Richmond.

Many prominent African Americans from the greater Richmond region are buried in Evergreen, including Maggie Walker, founder of St. Luke Penny Savings Bank; John Mitchell, Jr., founder of Mechanics Savings Bank and editor of the Richmond Planet; and Rev. Andrew Bowler, a noted education leader. In 1970 the Evergreen Cemetery Association sold the property to Metropolitan Memorial Services, which transformed about one-eighth of the parcel into an open field encircled by an oval drive. Lacking a long-term maintenance plan, most of the cemetery has suffered from neglect and has been overtaken by second generation woodland growth. In 2017 the Enrichmond Foundation acquired Evergreen and established a comprehensive, multi-year restoration plan.