Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Exploring Houston - Evergreen Cemetery


This week I drove to Eastwood where I own a vacant lot on Rusk Street. I've driven around the area many times but for some reason I had never driven South of Dumble Street on Rusk. Just four blocks South of my lot, Rusk dead ends into Altic Street and there in front of me was a cemetery. I never pass up a cemetery especially one that looks like it has old tombstones in it and I could see some old tombstones.

The one I photographed above reads:
ELENOR
wife of
J. R. GRYMES
 
BORN
April 1, 1827
DIED
March 20, 1903
 
There were quite a few tombstones with similar kinds of dates. The oldest burial I found was in 1895. But about half of the cemetery was colorful with balloons and flowers from Mother's Day. The tombstones and the decorations in that section had a very Hispanic flavor and there were some recent graves.

Thank God for the internet. As soon as I could I looked at a Google map and found that the cemetery was called Evergreen Cemetery. Then I googled Evergreen Cemetery Harris County Texas. There it was. Even a short video about someone who was helping preserve the cemetery. Even better, here is the text of a Historical Marker which I didn't find while I was walking around but it gave me the background of the Cemetery.

The Evergreen Cemetery Association organized in 1894 and purchased 25 acres at this site to establish a cemetery. The first recorded burial was that of the infant Nellie Storkes on October 4, 1894. Charles Hooper replaced first sexton Joseph Grenedig in 1898 and served until 1924. He was succeeded by his son, James, during whose tenure (1924-1936) 10 of the original 25 acres were sold. Hooper family members cared for all or part of the cemetery until 1984. Three distinctive ethnic burial arrangements exist here. Southern folk burial sites are often subdivided by families and enclosed by a fence with an arched gate. German families are buried together and their grave stones decorated by fine craftsmanship. Rows of evergreens and crepe myrtles often separate the German sections. Hispanic grave sites tend to be individually situated and decorated with floral arrangements. Among those buried in the cemetery are veterans of conflicts ranging from the Civil War to World War II, city and county officials, and local labor group and fraternal organizational members including the Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and Woodmen of the World. The cemetery is maintained by an association comprised of descendants of people buried here.
1994
location: 500 Altic St.

I've lived in Houston for most of my life but it seems like every time I go exploring I find a place that I didn't know anything about. I love that.

UPDATE: More information about the cemetery here.
 

15 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Felipe, Stick with me. I'll take you on some more tours around Houston.

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  2. Maude E Griffin is buried here. She was the first woman licensed as a tugboat captain/pilot for the Houston Ship Channel. She and her husband were both pilots. She lived directly across the street from us on Sherman and was an integral part of my life. Susan K

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    1. Susan, have you been to this cemetery? When I find a time for us to go to lunch, we might have to go there to explore some more. I bet there are more family names you would recognize.

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    2. Yes, many times. It was abandoned and neglected for a very long time until it was "rediscovered". I vividly remember one time driving there. It took a wrecker to get us out.

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    3. I can believe that. There were low spots when I was there that were pretty mushy. Sometimes we forget that Houston, especially as you go Southeast isn't much above sea level.

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  4. Like you, I rearely pass-up a cemetery.

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  5. Cool post. I had breakfast at Empire Cafe yesterday morning. I hadn't been there since it first opened, whenever that was.
    a great little place, except that I had to meet someone there at 8:30 in the morning! ha.

    Keep on exploring. Maybe we'll cross paths.......

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    1. 8:30 is early for retirement living. Did you get enough to eat to hold you over until dinner?

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  6. I live on Rusk near Eddington— just a couple blocks from your vacant lot. Learned an interesting bit of history yesterday—the second owner of my home accidentally shot himself in the stomach while his wife and kids were playing outside on the the sidewalk. He was buried later that week at Evergreen cemetery (1921)

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    1. Corbin, have you been over to the cemetery to look for his grave? There is a lot of very interesting history in that cemetery. I have sold my lot and the new owners are building a wonderful house on it. After my husband passed away, I decided that I probably wasn't going to build on the lot. I'm glad it was sold to someone who grew up in the neighborhood and appreciated the history. I still love Eastwood. You might be interested in a e-book I did about the neighborhood. I'll go get the link and comeback with it in another reply.

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    2. https://issuu.com/bmercer/docs/eastwood-3
      Corbin, this is the link to my e-book, Eastwood Today.

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  7. Charles Hooper was my Great Great grandfather and Superintendent of evergreen cemetery. I recently found a Photo of him and My Great grandmother taken their around 1915. I am looking form any information on the Hooper family. Mike from California

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    1. Mike from California, Lots of interesting history in Southeast Houston. Do you know where they lived in Houston?

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