Auburn Pine Hill Cemetery Lantern Tour – A Walk Through History



Want to meet up with one of Auburn’s most notorious characters, highlighted by the full moon and luminaries in the cemetery?  How about the founders of the town?  One of Auburn’s most unique and fun events, the Auburn Heritage Association’s Pine Hill Cemetery Lantern Tour is on for Oct. 14 and 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  It is a virtual “walk through history”. 

One of the best ways to learn about local history, the Auburn Heritage Association conducts this tour every other year in historic Pine Hill Cemetery.  The tour proceeds go toward various projects of the Auburn Heritage Association to promote the history of Auburn and its preservation.  As usual, the tour will feature historical Auburn characters buried in the oldest cemetery in Auburn, Pine Hill.  The six acres of land for Pine Hill Cemetery is located on Armstrong Street and was donated by the City’s founder, Judge John J. Harper in 1837.  Ironically it was his first son, Thomas Harper, who was buried there in 1838.  Judge Harper will be back on the tour along with new characters, World War I hero, Arthur Thigpen, Alice Holifield, Mary Cox and Sarah Frances Davis. 

Red and Lucky Meagher, who owned the Doll House which became the Sani-Freeze will be on the tour again. Come learn and laugh with the characters portraying these interesting inhabitants of Pine Hill. 

Local volunteers will portray characters and give a brief biography of those buried at Pine Hill, a catechism of Auburn’s persona. Some of the characters returning will include Virginia Howe, the 16-year-old who was buried in her front yard and later moved to Pine Hill.  How about “Uncle Billy” who is buried above ground in his double bed with his shoes under the bed? This is a wonderful way to “experience” local history and discover the true characters and founders of Auburn.

Beautiful ladies in period dress, with lighted lanterns will escort you throughout the historic cemetery, where five of Auburn University’s presidents are buried, as well as numerous pillars of the community which include mayors, ministers, veterans of all wars, professors and many you will recognize from streets names in Auburn. The history of Auburn and the history of Auburn University are intertwined and come alive at this most memorable event. A blue grass band will be at the gate to entertain patrons entering the cemetery. 

The Auburn Heritage Association published a book, “Auburn, Sweet Auburn, History, Stories and Epitaphs of Pine Hill Cemetery, 1836-2010”, which is based on scripts from the 20 years the Lantern Tour has been conducted, as well as the numeration of 1600 graves in the cemetery. The book will be available for purchase at the gates. New Auburn Heritage Association T-shirts highlighting the tour will also be available. 

 Tickets are $10 at the door, which includes the Tour Program. Parking is at East Samford School on Samford Avenue, and you can take the buses to the cemetery. Children are welcome. Come join the Auburn Heritage Association in celebrating Auburn’s history and be entertained at the same time.


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