The Evergreens Cemetery Preservation Foundation is a not for profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to the preservation of the Evergreens Cemetery. The Evergreens is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of cultural resources.
The Foundation focuses not only on the preservation and restoration of some of the older gravestones and monuments, but also on the exploration and communication of the cemetery’s history. The Foundation invites visitors to enjoy the historic and beautiful rolling landscape, credited to Andrew Jackson Downing who worked in conjunction with Alexander Jackson Davis; other designers have included Calvert Vaux.
One Foundation focus this year is the poignant Seamen’s Monument. Once a beacon to the New York Harbor, and now in urgent need of repair, the Monument sits amidst the final resting place of thousands of merchant seamen from overseas, including Norway, the Netherlands, England, Africa and Asia. For over 150 years when penniless merchant seamen died after arriving in the New York harbor, they were buried at the Seamen’s’ Burial Ground as a civic charity. Funds are being raised to conserve this historical marker of New York’s nautical and commercial past, and the records of the seamen buried there are being explored.
Of significant and particular interest, during this sesquicentennial of the Civil War, is the expansive Cedar Vale section of the Cemetery where African American Civil War soldiers (from the 20th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops formed by the Union League Club) lie buried.
Honoring the memory and accomplishments of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, whose grave sits in the Redemption section of the Cemetery, is another priority of the Foundation. This superstar dancer of stage and screen is also widely known for his movies with Shirley Temple. The route of his 1949 funeral procession, from Harlem through Times Square then on to Brooklyn, was lined by an estimated 500,000 mourners.
The Foundation is also focusing on the Actors Fund Plot, where many actors, considered undesirables at other cemeteries, are buried, as well as on older Manhattan cemeteries, such as the Brick Church’s, that were forced by law to relocate to less populated areas during the New York’s Burial Crisis in the mid-1800s.
DAMAGE FROM SUPERSTORM SANDY
And, of course, the Foundation is focused on restoring the damage that Hurricane Sandy caused in Fall 2012. Thanks in part to the Emergency Fund of The New York Landmarks Conservancy, and to the generosity of our individual donors, monuments such as those pictured above will be restored. To donate, please click HERE.