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Cemeteries

In 1921 the Lakeside Cemetery Association deeded its site on Dixie Highway, West Palm

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Map of Pioneer Park, circa 1920s. The Norton

Museum of Art is now located there.

Beach, to the city for a park, with requirements: the property would remain known as Pioneer Memorial Park, plaques naming the earliest pioneers would be maintained, and the Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association would retain the right to hold its meetings on the premises.

 The pioneers’ association withdrew another requirement that the site be preserved as a park and cemetery when Ralph and Elizabeth Norton wanted it for an art center. Most of the bodies at Lakeside were moved to the south end of Woodlawn Cemetery, but unmarked graves remain in Pioneer Memorial Park, some of them under the Norton Gallery. A plaque with the names of the deceased is located on the west side of the entrance to the gallery building.

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A Florida State historical marker is dedicated

to Flamingo Park, which was once a cemetery

for African Americans. Courtesy Richard A.

Marconi.

Lakeside’s two-acre “colored cemetery,” as it was known, was across County Road (Dixie Highway) a few blocks to the south; by 1913 about 100 African Americans were buried there. In 1916 the Florida Supreme Court prevented the City of West Palm Beach from repossessing the cemetery for resale. When Lakeside Cemetery Association could no longer afford to maintain the cemetery in 1921, it donated the site to the city without restrictions. The city converted the land to a park known as “Dixie playground,” then as Flamingo Park. It is designated by the state as a Florida Heritage Site, and a marker relates its history to visitors.

The African American community found another burial

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Many of the leading African American citizens

are buried in Evergreen Cemetery. Courtesy

Richard A. Marconi.

ground for themselves in 1913, about a block north of Tamarind Avenue and 25th Street, which they named Evergreen Cemetery. Its first trustees and owners included M. Jacob “Jake” Gildersleeve, Fred Austin, Robert Holland, Henry Meador, Sam Sharp, and Henry Rhodes. Evergreen became the final home of some of the city’s most influential black citizens, including Dr. T. Leroy Jefferson, the city’s first black physician; James W. Mickens, an early educator; Henry Speed, a real estate investor; and Dr. Thomas R. Vickers, a physician. The City of West Palm Beach now owns and maintains Evergreen Cemetery.

In Boynton in 1926, Cherry Hill Cemetery for blacks was established south of the Boynton Canal and east of what is now Interstate 95. After it fell into disuse, Mary and William Barton continued to keep up their son’s grave, and it became known as Barton’s Cemetery.

Lantana settlers formed the Evergreen Cemetery Association in 1892 and established Evergreen Cemetery at the southeast corner of present-day Arnold Avenue and Lantana Road. Shortly after it was formed, Morris B. and Mary Lyman’s the nine-month-old daughter, Bertha Rachel died and was buried in the new cemetery. Most of the Lantana pioneers are buried here. Evergreen Cemetery was used until 1950. An iron fence now surrounds it.

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