Restoring Houston’s Past: Historic Evergreen Cemetery Gets a Fifth Ward Facelift
This past Tuesday, June 14th, community members came out to participate in a Flag Day Celebration and Revitalization project of a beloved Houston landmark in Houston’s Fifth Ward – Evergreen Cemetery.
Evergreen Cemetery is located at 5400 Market Street and Lockwood Drive, and was established in the late 1800’s. According to Rice University historian Heather Wiederhoeft, “a cotton plantation stood where modern-day Lockwood Drive and Market Street intersect,” before being converted into one of Houston’s first “Negro Cemeteries.”
Evergreen Cemetery is a beloved Houston-area historical landmark and is a source of pride for the Fifth Ward community. Evergreen Cemetery serves as the final resting place for former slaves, Buffalo Soldiers and World War II veterans. When the city of Houston expanded Lockwood Drive in 1960, hundreds of the graves at Evergreen Cemetery were moved to three other cemeteries in the Greater Houston area.
Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers were among more than 100 volunteers who joined forces with Houston Habitat for Humanity to revitalize Evergreen Cemetery.
“It just feels good to come back to an area that’s so deserving,” said Lowe’s Hero Volunteer Leviticus Williams. “These are the streets that Mickey Leland and Barbara Jordan walked. This project ignites a real passion for some volunteers to preserve a rich part of Houston’s history.”
Lowe’s awarded Houston Habitat a $70,000 grant to help complete the project. Volunteers cut the grass, trimmed shrubs, took down old signage and erected two flag poles – one on each of the two sections of the cemetery in time for Flag Day.
The Lowe’s grant will also include work on a Fifth Ward Community Garden; constructing and repairing picnic tables; fencing and cleaning of a KaBOOM!™ Park and Solar Splash Pad; and painting and repairing several older homes in the area. These homes support a yearlong commitment between Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity to help 1,000 families have a safe and affordable home in time for the holidays.