WUFT News

Gainesville Cemetery Recognized as Historical Landmark

By on April 18th, 2014
Evergreen sign

Lawrence Chan / WUFT

This state historical marker tells what notable people are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery. The site holds about 10,000 graves.

It started with a baby and a cedar tree.

In 1856, James Tilatha Thomas, a cotton farmer and landowner, buried his 10-day-old daughter beneath a cedar tree.

Eight months later, his wife Elizabeth Jane Hall Thomas passed away. He buried her on the land, too. It’d be 21 years before Thomas would rejoin his family.

Thomas’ small family graveyard expanded into the Evergreen Cemetery, which was honored April 12 with a Florida Historical Marker. This will preserve the Gainesville cemetery’s condition as a cultural and historical landmark.

The marker is inscribed with the cemetery’s early history and the names of notable historical figures found there.

The Evergreen Cemetery Association and the city of Gainesville maintain the nearly  53-acre municipal cemetery.

“It’s one of the oldest cemeteries in Alachua County,” said Gary Smith, the cemetery coordinator. “It is the only municipal cemetery in Gainesville.”

Smith said the cemetery holds the final resting places of some of the city’s most notable historical figures, including Gainesville founder James B. Bailey and Gatorade inventor Robert Cade.

The land holds over 10,000 marked graves and 2,000 unmarked graves, and about 30 people are buried here annually.

The cemetery holds veterans from every major U.S. conflict ranging from the Second Seminole War to the Vietnam War. It includes commanders like Maj. Gen. Albert H. Blanding, the namesake for Starke’s Camp Blanding military training center and a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal for service in World War I.

Dr. Jimi Brown, president of the Evergreen Cemetery Association, said over 100 of those graves include deceased soldiers from the Civil War.

The graves of Florida’s first female physician Sarah L. Robb, ecologists Archie and Marjorie Carr, and also William A. Shands, namesake of the UF Health Shands Hospital, can all be found at the cemetery as well, Brown said.

On behalf of the county, the cemetery has been governed and maintained by The Evergreen Cemetery Association of Gainesville Inc. since 1994.

The nonprofit association raised money for enhancements and cemetery-related programs and hosts events throughout the year to honor the veterans on the cemetery’s grounds, including this year’s Masonic Appreciation Day in late April.

“You go through a very lengthy process to receive this designation,” said Russell Etling, the city’s interim cultural affairs manager.

According to the Florida Division of Historical Resources, in order to qualify for a state historical marker a landmark, building, structure or site needs to be at least 50 years old and represent regional significance in the areas of architecture, archaeology, Florida history or traditional culture.

“It lends credence to the notion that it should be kept as it is,” said Brown. “It is historically significant and is recognized by the state of Florida.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Fiji’s Best

    In addition to the goods and services we use, our modern civilization rests upon customs, traditions, and ways of doing things that evolved through the experience of our ancestors over hundreds of years.

  • Michael Nunez – A53

    Although democratic processes and collectivism both offer equality, democratic processes tend to offer equality of liberty while socialism offers equality of servitude.

 

More Stories in Local

danefeaturedimage

Dog Supports Owner With Chronic Illness

Justice, a young Great Dane, not only functions as a service dog, but has the ability to detect illness and distress in the people around him. The dog was rescued by Fallin Turner, 17, who lives with scleroderma and Systematic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and relies on Justice for both emotional and physical support.


The Preservation Jazz Band takes the stage at the frank street fair Thursday evening on Feb. 26. The band is from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jazz Band, Street Fair Draw Crowd To Downtown Gainesville For Frank Conference

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed on Bo Diddley Community Plaza on Thursday as part of a street fair. The fair was part of day three of the 2015 frank conference.


Construction workers from Superior Construction Company Southeast work on replacing the culvert underneath the Oakleaf overpass in Clay County on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

Oakleaf Overpass Closed During Culvert Construction

A deteriorated culvert failed inspection last month, closing the Overleaf overpass over State Road 23 until a new culvert is built. The construction has caused traffic issues and added to commute times.


Mishler rides Chief Free Spirit, and Cherry follows behind. Cherry, 7, is Chief Free Spirit’s daughter. Chloe Stradinger/ WUFT

Evangelical Cowboy Rides Through Gainesville As Part Of Larger Journey

Doc Mishler rides around the country on horseback preaching his Christian beliefs. He travels about 20 miles per day and rode through Gainesville on Monday.


Mike Myers, 68, illustrates how he created a notepad from an orange juice container. Myers said that the Repurpose Project is the culmination of his dream.

Repurpose Project Finds Success in New Location

After moving to its new location next to Satchel’s Pizza, The Repurpose Project has more than quadrupled in size and substance. The owners plan to expand with the additional space, adding a garden, play area for kids and an event area.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments