Delray Beach Memorial Gardens
A Short History
In 1902, the Ladies Improvement Association of the little town of Linton was given five acres of land by Frederick S. Dewey, agent of Henry Flagler’s Model Land Company, to be used for a cemetery. A few months later, the Association bought an additional adjoining 2 ½ acres and, in September 1903, they incorporated it as Pine Ridge Cemetery. It was located southwest of the settlement between SW Sixth Street on the north, SW Eighth Avenue on the east and SW Seventh Street on the south. Money from the sale of lots was to be used to maintain the cemetery. A family lot cost $5.00 and a single plot was $1.00.
Linton was incorporated as the town of Delray in 1911. Three years later, the Ladies Improvement Association deeded Pine Ridge Cemetery to the town, which took over the operation and maintenance. Delray grew into a city. From a city council record circa 1926:
“The beautification of the cemetery being carried out by the city of Delray under the personal supervision of Mr. J. L. Troup is rapidly progressing…
“The City Engineers are now putting in the lot stakes according to the original plat, and although they are finding much difficulty due to the incompletion of the records, and the removal of grave markers, it is expected that all the graves and lots may be relocated without undue difficulty…
“It was noted that a great many of the wooden stakes which have been used in the past to mark the graves have rotted away, and in many instances there is no record either as to the owner or occupant of the grave. A request has been made that all people who own lots, or who have friends or relatives buried in the local cemetery communicate with Mr. Troup and if possible report the exact location of the lot or graves in case the same are not already provided with legible markers. It is also noted that many of the graves are not located on the lots which they are supposed to be, there are many in the streets and out of bound. The city is using every reasonable effort to relocate all graves, and as soon as this is done will re-plat the cemetery, and place the streets in the most convenient and accessible place.”
Delray became Delray Beach in 1927 and Pine Ridge Cemetery came to be called Delray Beach Cemetery. Because maintenance by the city was haphazard for a number of years; families had to tend to the upkeep of their own lots. Also, records were incomplete, with the result that many of the earlier burials cannot be located by block and lot number so we have relied on the information found in the city clerk’s offices. This resulted in a more accurate record of the burials. In 1995, the city greatly expanded the cemetery and changed the name to Delray Beach Memorial Gardens, though the original section is still called Pine Ridge. In addition to the entrances on SW Eighth Avenue, there is now the main entrance on SW Tenth Street. This beautiful cemetery covers 38.7 acres and as of 1997 had a mausoleum under construction.
Every effort ha been made to include all known burials, and to be accurate as to spelling and dates, with the information available to our volunteers. Some dates are death dates; some are burial dates. Unfortunately, no distinction is made between the old, original part of the cemetery and the new block numbers cited. For example, Block 1 may refer to 1A, 1B, 1C, 1OPR or simply 1 in the newer section. This is true from 1 to 7. OLD refers to any part of the original Pine Ridge Cemetery. There are two INF (Infant) sections, though some infants are buried in family lots. Burials, totaling 3750, from September 1903 to October 1997 are included in this index.
This project was made possible through funding from the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin counties.
Members of the Genealogy Society of Palm Beach County Cemetery Committee were: Lorraine Lentsch – Chairperson; Elizabeth Allen; Brett Brown; Randy Hall; Austin Hardy; Marjorie Nelson.
Additional assistance provided by: Judy Gomery; Barbara J. McCann; Jane woodward; Marilyn Tuppen; Dot Lemstrom; Juelyn Reniger; Dorene Pearce; and James W. Lee.
Special thanks to the following:
City Clerk’s Office, Delray Beach
Parks Director, City of Delray Beach
Pre-Arrangement of Delray, Inc.
Delray Historical Society
Straghn & Son Tri-City Funeral Home, Inc.
City of Delray, cemetery maintenance staff