Pine Hill Cemetery expanding

Published 8:00 am Saturday, September 16, 2023

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LANETT — Work is underway with a major expansion of the Pine Hill Cemetery in the West Shawmut neighborhood. A total of 1,600 new grave sites will be going in.

The existing portion at Pine Hill is just about at capacity. The new addition will provide the space needed for many years to come.

Grave sites are sold by the city in pairs. This means there will be 800 sites to sell once the work is completed.

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“We will be putting in some new roads to make it easier for visitors to get around inside the cemetery,” City of Lanett Street Superintendent Rocky Bolt told The Valley Times-News. “A lot of work has taken place out here to get the site ready. It was bush hogged and then zero turned.”

Pine Hill is a quiet, serene spot, ideal for a cemetery. No doubt many friends and family members will be coming here to pay their respects to loved ones who have passed on.

“We should be out here for a couple of more weeks,” Bolt said. “It should be really looking good when we are finished.”

Upgrading the city’s three cemeteries and having them looking good has been a goal of Mayor Jamie Heard.

“This is something Lanett residents have a right to expect, and we intend to make good on it,” he said.

Located off Country Club Road on the city’s west side, Hillcrest Cemetery is also slated for an expansion. An area for that has been marked off and pinned.

Located between First Street and Cherry Drive, Oakwood is the oldest cemetery in Lanett. It dates to 1895, the year Bluffton changed its name to Lanett.  The new city had to create a new cemetery because of a problem with city residents being buried in Georgia. It seems a Lanett resident died of a highly contagious disease. Georgia law at the time did not permit the body of anyone who had died in this manner to be transported across the state line. Prior to this, burials had been taking place at Pinewood Cemetery in West Point.

Oakwood is well known as the final resting place for little Nadine Earls. She died one week before Christmas Day in 1934 with an unfulfilled wish of a playhouse in her backyard.

Her dad, Comer Earls, had planned to build her one that year but when she fell ill postponed until she got better. Her condition worsened as the holiday season approached. Her dad kept promising to build it, but her dying words — “Me want it now, daddy” — would haunt him for the rest of his life. As a memorial to her, the next year he built the playhouse over her grave.

Little Nadine’s Playhouse is an official city landmark. It has been written about in many languages, and people from all over the world have come to see it.