The land for the cemetery was donated to the City of Muskegon in 1865. A 10 acre parcel was bought for internment after city leadership desperate that family wells dug near the old cemetery were not going to supply safe ingesting water. The cemetery, previously at First Street and Muskegon Avenue on the plot of land now occupied by Mount Zion Church of God in Christ and a portion of Muskegon Avenue, since widened, was closed and it’s burials disinterred. The pine coffins were carried to Evergreen, once regarded to be on the far reaches of town, at least a hour’s ride from downtown, for reburial. The cemetery was considered such a barren piece of land that there is a story of a family placing an infant’s grave of their own yard, in place of in the piece of desolate, previously fallow farmland that served as the city cemetery.
It was because of this that several local women, led by Maria Piper and Laura Smith, determined to form the Ladies Cemetery Association. Their aim was to make the cemetery a more comfy place for grieving households to go to. They planted trees, including many of the oaks that now tower over the cemetery, and flora, installed a fence, put in benches and a small park at the front, and had a well dug so they could make certain their landscaping survived. Eventually, they even put a fountain in the center of the cemetery.