Miss Ellender L. Alden

EllenderAldenEllender 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.


Randolph Caldecott

Randolph Caldecott grave. Photo by author archived at Flickr.

Randolph Caldecott grave. Photo from the author’s collection at Flickr.

Randolph Caldecott (22 March 1846 – 12 February 1886) was a British artist renowned for his illustrations in childrens books. A medal presented each year by the Association for Library Service to Children is named for him. While on tour in the US, he took ill here in St. Augustine where he died. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

The plaque at the foot of his grave contains this inscription:

Friends of Libraries U.S.A.
Library Landmarks Register
Evergreen Cemetery St. Augustine, Florida
The Caldecott Medal, commissioned in 1938, was named
in honor of English illustrator, artist, and sculptor
Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the
Association for Library Service to Children,
American Library Association, to the artist of the
“most distinguished” American picture book for children
published during the preceeding year. As a tribute to his
life and art, this burial site is designated a
Literary Landmark by Friends of Libraries U.S.A.
Friends of the Library of St. Johns County, Inc.
Randolph Caldecott Society of America
March 20, 2005

Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery

Entrance to 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 provide color in the spring. 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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