Evergreen Cemetery jogging path ~ Boyle Heights

For the last three years, I have been walking and sometimes jogging around Evergreen Cemetery with my Harley by my side. In fact, the only reason I even started the 1.5 mile walk around the cemetery was to get Harley some exercise because a tired dog, is a happy dog. So for those of you too lazy to actually go and walk around the cemetery, this is your lucky day. Strap on your running shoes and follow the black labrador down the jogging path…

 Say hello to my not so little best friend in the world, Harley Quinn. Yes this 100 lb, cute as a button dog saved my life during my crippling depression. She was a gift from good friends and as soon as she came into my life, I developed a real sense of responsibility, understanding and direction. She also taught me what it really means to have an animal in your life. Course I naturally love animals anyway, so everything worked out perfectly. She has her dog license and everything, in fact I might take her to get blessed in April. 

 This is Lex. This jug headed kid is the newest addition to tag along in the walk. Because Harley can’t live where I’m at right now, she stays with Lex and her mom Brooklyn at my other friends house. I don’t feel too bad sometimes because all three of the dogs keep each other company and they have a yard to run around in, but that’s no excuse for not walking your dog regularly for at least 45 minutes. Lex is about 10 months old so he’s still learning how to properly walk without lunging at people or other dogs. He’s getting the hang of it, but he still slips up every now and them. 

Brooklyn is going on 13 years(human) and it shows. I try to run or jog, but I can’t because Brooklyn just can’t keep up, she’s old. She’s only had one litter of puppies and only Harley and her sister Shadow survived, the other’s passed away sadly. She doesn’t really do much of anything besides eat,sleep and poop. She’s a cool dog and real mellow, but she keeps the other two in check.

The walk around evergreen has turned into a ritual of sorts over time. I get to my friends house, greet the dogs after they settle down, clean and refill their water bucket, brush them if I can find the damn brush and put their leashes on. From there we make our way to the path and depending on weather conditions, I get so see some beautiful sights and captivating scenery along the way. Part of the walk is me relaxing and thinking about whatever it is I’m freaking out about that day. Mostly school, life and yes girl drama.

Depending where you start, I walk clockwise beginning on Cesar Chavez, you can get a good view of the whole cemetery and all the graves there. To this day, space is still available and they cremate bodies everyday. Funeral cost range between $565 – $1,600 depending on what services a person opts for and how fancy the casket is. The tombstone cost extra. Cremation runs between $290 – $6,100 again depending on services and ash container. Did you know that if you wanna see the cremation you gotta shell out an extra $325 during the week days and $475 for a Saturday and $575 for a Sunday ? Add another $150 if you want your ashes thrown out to sea.

The path has most of it’s traffic during the summer, between four and dusk. The latest I’ve walked around with Harley was around 11 p.m. and I loved the quietness and solitude to be able to think and enjoy myself in such a public space. Of course the majority of people walking are friends and family just talking a stroll and airing their dirty laundry for everyone to hear. Ohh man I have heard soo much drama passing by women talking about sancho and what not. I keep my thoughts to myself, but every now and then I find myself being a counselor to friends who join me on the walk and need someone to talk to about their drama. I don’t mind lending my ear out, in fact I’m glad some of my friends value this about me, I may not have the best advice, but damn can I listen.

The other time when I’m not too lost in thought or listening to a friend tell me how unfair their parents are or how their bf is an idiot, the scenery really helps relieve stress. 

This is a picture of a plaque that was put in on Cesar Chavez and Lorena. The funny thing about it is that the rock and painting above it had the exact date of when they where dedicated. Those dates were like two weeks ahead of schedule, I think they got antsy and thought no one would notice, pero no con taban con mi astusia !!!!

I haven’t been there in a LONG TIME. I walk by it almost everyday, but grabbing a burrito de carnitas would defeat the purpose of the walk now wouldn’t it ?

The bright lights and sounds of cars coming from El Mercadito. People driving by in cars stare at me because I’m walking three big dogs with ease and they can’t keep their tiny, puff ball of a dog from barking it’s tiny head off when it sees my dogs. Recently they added drinking fountains, one for people and one for dogs, on Lorena and on First street. I would have included a picture, but I seem to have misplaced it. 

One thing you a lot of is people selling their cars. since there’s soo much foot traffic it’s the perfect place if you think about it. There’s all sort of cars for sale and on certain days it almost turns into a car dealership. 

Since construction of the rail began and it started making its way through the Eastside, the First street section of the jogging path was closed off to the public for more than a year. I myself just crossed the street and continued on. One problem with this closure was that some people aren’t very bright. They insisted on walking next to the fence, which puts them in immediate danger of getting hit by cars passing by. Sometimes people would take their kids with them and put them in blatant danger just because they couldn’t cross the damn street and walk on the other side. 

Thankfully the construction is finished and they opened up the path again. It felt kinda weird not having to cross the street anymore since I got use to it.

Sometimes you never now who might show up. On any particular night I run into people, we walk and talk and then split when we get to certain spots. That’s my friend “yesca” walking Harley. She was jogging that night and after I scared the crap outta her we walked and talked about her boyfriend being an insensitive jerk, for a minute there I thought I was talking to my X :-P.

Work is still going on for the rail, but most of t takes place inside. There’s a security guard posted there 24/7 making sure no one goes in. 

That about does it really. In the tree years that I’ve been walking around the cemetery, nothing strange has happened, although there was this one time…I did see a dog and a couple of chickens wondering around once. The cemetery is pretty historic and it houses the bodies of L.A.s first African American fire fighter to die in duty and the people who had streets named after them all over the place. Browne and Bustard even took the time to come to the Eastside to check it for themselves, that’s how great it is. Here’s a link to names listed to reside in the cemetery. The cemetery has way too much history that I don’t even know myself. I encourage everyone to take the time to go to the cemetery and take a walk for themselves to see how great it is. How knows, you might end up seeing some “Random” guy walking three dogs at the same time. If you do, be sure to say, “Que honda!”

17 thoughts on “Evergreen Cemetery jogging path ~ Boyle Heights

  1. Nice post and great pics El Random Hero. I have a doggy too, named Woody whose half red nose pit pull and half, well let’s just say papa was a rolling stone, but probably half golden retriever or lab. Funny, as a typical Chicano I never had dogs and like a lot of Mexicans always thought they were only good for being watchdogs, otherwise they were worthless creatures that only ate and shit and if they got in the way were just as likely to get a swift kick as a kind word.
    But in my old age I got Woody, and he is a constant and valued companion who I take for walks all the time and who is always riding shotgun whenever I go anywhere.
    Woody is also a psychic who knows ten or fifteen minutes before if anyone will be knocking at the door, and he can sense the mood in the house as well, if it’s tense he go’s to his bed but if it’s a happy mood he’s in on the trip. I guess it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, referring to myself of course.

    Hey ERH I clicked up your link to Evergreen cemetery and lo and behold it is full of history and famous people, especially African Americans. Eddy “Rochester” Anderson, the wonderful and funny actor who is most famous for being Jack Benny’s sidekick and conscience, Louise Beavers the great great actress of so many movies and TV, and to my great surprise the legendary 50’s and 60’s doo wop and Oldies singer and songwriter (Earth Angel, You Cheated, Goodnight my Love,Guess Who, Beware, among dozens of others), the one and only, LA’s own Jessie Belvin.
    Jessie Belvin was a prime example of those talented African American songwriters who got ripped off constantly by the Record Producers, who paid as little as a hundred bucks for the rights to songs that later sold millions.
    And Jessie Belvin was an example of those great Black singers and performers whose prime audience and fan support came mainly from the Chicano communities not only in LA but across the Southwest.
    He was tragically killed with his wife at a young age due to a car wreck.
    Is it a mere coincidence that he is buried on LA’s Eastside? Belvin was and is much loved by Chicano’s of my generation and even by the youngsters who still dig him and the Oldies.
    And there needs to be more info on the history of that part of the Eastside around Evergreen St., because as I remember it, years ago there was always a population of Black families that resided in that area. Unless I’m wrong I remember that the great Hall of Fame football player from Roosevelt High School, USC, and the Kansas City Chiefs, the Heisman Trophy winner “Mike Garrett lived on Evergreen.
    Again great post El Random Hero and remember that if your on one of your walks around the cemetery at night and Harley starts freaking out, and then you hear the great Jessie Belvins voice in the night singing “Beware, I’m out to get you, Beware, I won’t forget you, your touch, thrills me so much, Ohhh you better beware”
    Run for it fast!
    But if you hear Jessie Belvin’s beautiful voice singing softly, “Goodnight my love, pleasant dreams and sleep tight my love, for tomorrow’ll be sunny and bright, and bring you closer to meeee”.
    Then all is well.

    Thank you

  2. “Hey ERH I clicked up your link to Evergreen cemetery and lo and behold it is full of history and famous people, especially African Americans.” DQ

    Before the Civil Right’s Acts passed the Evergreen Cemetery was only one of two places that African-Americans could be buried in the Los Angeles area.


  3. Great website and great post! I have some family in Evergreen (passed away in the 1930’s and 1940’s) and it was fun to explore the grave stones with my family one day a few years back. Even though I didn’t grow up in East L.A., I have a lot of historical roots there dating back over 80 years so it’s great to see a blog that reveals interesting details about the area today.

  4. My family’s buried there too. What’s unusual, though, is that they never lived in the Eastside. They lived in “Uptown” on Mariposa which is, I think, Pico Union or Koreatown. Later, they moved to South San Gabriel when some developments were built in the early 60s.

  5. Interesting that the Eastside has so many VIP’s who are there forever. I clicked on Widipedia for Calvary Cemetary and wow what a lineup.

    Most of my family that are deceased are buried at Calvary and it’s interesting that Browne mentioned the segregated cemetery’s in LA.
    At Calvary rests one of the seminal figures in African American history and American history for that matter.
    The one and only Jelly Roll Morton, who claimed, as many others do, that he invented Jazz.

  6. How funny, I helped paint those EG jogging path signs with my homies Zender and scud for then councilman pacheco. It was like a week before he left office and he wanted to put his name on eveything relevant to him. We also did a communtiy mural down by evergreen rec center and he had us put his name on that as well.
    Odd how so many layers there are to many of the posts on this blog, that’s just the Eastside way. We dont just throw shit away, we let it age like a good pair of jeans or a 87 toyota tercel.

    DQ, serio? You mean to tell me the legendary Jelly Roll has been rubbing elbows with my elders all this time? All the original players who brought our families to LA are buried either in Evergreen or Calvary, with the newbies in Resurrection.

    Hey El Random, did the MTA ever repair the sidewalk on the south side of 1st that everyone had to use when the construction section was blocked off? I bugged them a lot to fix it up since foot traffic picked up, they conceded concrete repair was gonna happen but would not budge on my insistence of a quality shade tree canopy being planted ASAP as well.

    BTW good post, I love your commentary.

  7. ^^
    “Interesting that the Eastside has so many VIP’s that are there forever.” More famous folks found interred on the Eastside can be visited at the smaller “Home of Peace” cemetery across Whittier Boulevard from Calvary Cemetery. Such Hollywood luminaries as Louis B. Mayer(founder of M.G.M.), Carl Laemmle(founder of Universal), the three Warner Brothers and two of the Three Stooges(Curly and Shemp)as well as ice cream mogul Bert Baskins are all resting in peace on the Eastside.

  8. Amazing to see that they dedicated it to Lloyd Monserratt. An amazing Chicano at UCLA in the late 80s who worked hard and took care of business. Plus won the school wide student body presidency only to be disqualified. He died young.

  9. Cool website…I always try and go workout as much as possible & run around the Evergreen Cemetary..Its a cool spot to run..I recently attended a Funeral a couple months ago at the Cemetary..One of my friends Great Grandmother was buried their..She was born in Boyle Heights in 1917..Her name was Juanita Olgesby Robinson..She was African American…Alot of history in that cemetary..One of these days you should go and check it out..

    check out my website…eriksarni.com

    link to photo gallery…

  10. Even after ~200 miles around the cemetary, I never noticed how amazing the surroundings looked.

    Those pics really woke me up as to how little attention I pay to things while running. Thank you very much.

    Best wishes to you, the dogs, and everyone who reads this!

  11. “Before the Civil Right’s Acts passed the Evergreen Cemetery was only one of two places that African-Americans could be buried in the Los Angeles area.

    Along with the buried were the Jewish, Japanese, Mexicans and anyone else who was “non-White”.

    Running around the cemetery beats driving to the gym. It’s also great to see the old school headstones in Japanese and run with neighbors.

  12. We learn to drive inside the Evergreen cemetery and walk around it before the jogging pad was built. The best training ever. You learn to keep your car in control, read the names on the head stones. When you are able to read the names, date birth and date of death while driving you are ready for DMV.

  13. I never new the film about Rocky Dennis was filmed there. Mask) At the end of the film Cher stands near the road and u can c the jogging path. Even tho Rocky Dennis was never burried there.

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