Ocean Springs to draw for Evergreen Cemetery plots - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ocean Springs to draw for Evergreen Cemetery plots

Records show the graves in Evergreen Cemetery date back to 1854. The cemetery changed ownership several times before it was purchased by the city of Ocean Springs in 1974. Records show the graves in Evergreen Cemetery date back to 1854. The cemetery changed ownership several times before it was purchased by the city of Ocean Springs in 1974.
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Limited burial space in a historic Ocean Springs cemetery has city officials looking for creative ways to determine who gets a plot. Ocean Springs will soon start selling plots in Evergreen Cemetery, a burial ground that dates back pre-Civil war. But only a lucky few will be able to call it their final resting place.

The graves tell the life stories of the people who built Ocean Springs. Records show burials at the Evergreen Cemetery go back as far as 1854.

"You can see it in the names when you see the street names and what buildings are named after. These are all these people that paved the way," Ocean Springs City Clerk Shelly Ferguson said. "It has beautiful history. It is one of the most beautiful cemeteries that we've seen."

The city bought Evergreen Cemetery, which is on Fort Bayou, nearly 40 years ago. Officials said a bulkhead added in 2003 made some additional plots available. However, the 100 or so plots about to go up for sale are in the open spaces within the heart the cemetery. To make sure the open spaces aren't actually unmarked graves, crews went through with sonar.

"It went through every open space in the cemetery and if there was any anomalies, we knew not to use that as potential space," said Ferguson. "Then we had the entire cemetery surveyed and then plots laid. Now we're finally ready to start selling them."

City officials said with Evergreen's rich history, it didn't take long for people to express interest in being buried there.

"Because their family is here and being from Ocean Springs. Coming out here, it's beautiful," she said.

When it became clear there wouldn't be enough final resting places to go around to everyone who wanted one, the city came up with a plan for a lottery.

"Due to so much interest, we thought that having a random drawing would be the most fair was to sell them," Ferguson said. "We have applications available at city hall or on our website. It is a maximum of four plots per household. You fill out an application and it needs to be turned in by January 4th. Then on January 14th, we will do the drawing."

Ocean Springs officials say burial plots are $3,000 each and urn plots are $1,500. They said there will be some adjoining plots offered in the sale.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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