Tag Archives: St. Augustine

Miss Ellender L. Alden

Miss Alden

Miss Ellender Alden.

Ellender Alden, fondly known as Miss Alden to generations of St. Johns County students, was born on January 3, 1899 in St. Augustine. The daughter of Edmund A. and Lona B. Alden, she lived her entire life in the same house at 99 Orange Street. Her father was a locomotive engineer for the Florida East Coast Railway while her mother kept house. She had a younger brother, Charles, who died in 1930.

Miss Alden spent more than 40 years teaching in St. Augustine. She loved football players, memory work and Robert E. Lee. We did not know it then, but 1969 – my senior year – would be her last. Thanks to Miss Alden, many of us can still recite Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mark Anthony’s funeral speech from Julius Caesar and other classics. She retired in 1969 and died the next January. She may be gone, but her spirit lives on in the memories of the many students who’s lives she touched.

Miss Alden is buried with her parents and brother in a family plot at Evergreen Cemetery.

Miss Alden’s grave at Evergreen Cemetery.

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Day 1: T’omb It May Concern

Thursday’s tour of Huguenot Cemetery conducted by Karen Harvey (right). From the author’s collection at Flickr.

Day one provided not only an education on our local historic cemeteries, but also an increasing appreciation for the efforts of Florida’s archaeology community in researching and preserving these treasures. This conference is a collaborative effort of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) and Flagler College. Additional sponsors include the St. Augustine Archaeological Association, St. Johns County, the Menorcean Cultural Society, Historic Tours of America and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

The people of FPAN have worked tirelessly to put together an impressive list of speakers combined with tours of several cemeteries lead by people who have worked to document and preserve these historic treasures. Flagler College has provided the facilities for our lectures in their student center and last night’s keynote presentation in the beautifully restored Flagler Room.

All-in-all, it has been a delightful day and I’m looking forward to the next two days.

Photos from the Huguenot Cemetery tour have been uploaded to the Huguenot Cemetery album at Flickr.

Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery

After the City of St. Augustine closed the Protestant (Huguenot) Cemetery, a new location west of the city was selected as its replacement. Evergreen Cemetery opened in 1886 and soon became the largest Protestant cemetery in northeast Florida. The plan for Evergreen was influenced by the Rural Cemetery Movement of the 19th century. The National Register Bulletin describes this style:

In the early “rural” cemeteries and in those which followed their pattern, hilly, wooded sites were enhanced by grading, selective thinning of trees, and massing of plant materials which directed views opening onto broad vistas. The cemetery gateway established separation from the workaday world, and a winding drive of gradual ascent slowed progress to a stately pace. Such settings stirred an appreciation of nature and a sense of the continuity of life.

The older sections of the cemetery are shaded with old palms and live oak trees. Spanish moss sways in the breeze and many azalea and camilla bushes will provide color from now into the Easter season. A meandering pond splits the cemetery in half and adds to the tranquility. The newer sections are a stark contrast – flat with almost no shade.

Among the cemetery’s notable residents is Randolph Caldecott, the 19th century British artist noted for his beautifully illustrated childrens’ books. Mr. Caldecott died suddenly on February 12, 1886 while visiting St. Augustine and was one of the first burials at Evergreen.

The cemetery office is located just inside the gate and the staff was very helpful, providing maps and information on the cemetery’s history and features. This map provides an aerial view of the cemetery as it looks today. A cemetery survey is available at the St. Augustine Genealogical Society site.

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