Why is Boyle Height’s Evergreen Cemetery not so green?

The dried mat of grass crackles underfoot as you approach some of the more than century-old tombstones at Evergreen Cemetery. A quick tour of one of the city’s oldest and largest cemeteries, with more than 300,000 graves, reveals large swaths of dried grass and bare earth on the perimeter of the property. It’s in sharp contrast to the emerald green that carpets the center of the cemetery. The view of parched grass is nothing new to the walkers and joggers who circle the Boyle Heights cemetery on a fitness trail. Sections of Evergreen, several of them said. have been dry for some time now.

Why have some parts of the cemetery gone without water? It’s hard to get a definitive answer, or any answer, from cemetery management. A pair of gardeners near the First Street pedestrian gate said that some valves are broken. Inside the Evergreen front office, workers pass the question of “Why is the grass dry?” around the room like a hot potato until one man said he was not authorized to say. He offered to pass along my question and phone number to the manager. I have not heard back.

So, the next time you visit Evergreen, bring along flowers. And a watering can.

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