The Coral Gables Museum recently announced that its executive director, John Allen, was voted Advisory Member for Pinewood Cemetery, the oldest cemetery south of the Miami River, in a unanimous decision by the Coral Gables City Commission.
As an Advisory Member, Allen will be instrumental in carrying out the Pinewood Cemetery restoration plan decided upon by the board, overseeing proper care for the final resting place of many of Dade County’s pioneer settlers. Located in the City of Coral Gables on Erwin Road (SW 47th Avenue), Pinewood Cemetery initially was called Larkins Cemetery, named for the Larkins settlement that eventually would become South Miami, before being known as Cocoplum, Pineywoods and, finally, Pinewood.
Allen is a leading force in local historical initiatives, and in 2018 was heavily involved in the restoration of Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery, one of the oldest black cemeteries in Dade County. The Coral Gables Museum exhibition that chronicled this community effort,
“Sacred Ground: The Rise, Fall and Revival of Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery,” showcased documents and objects from the archives and grounds of Lincoln Memorial Park for the first time in history. The “Caretakers” component of the exhibition additionally included a photographic essay and documentary video on the project by award-winning photographer Carl Juste of the Miami Herald and photographer C. W. Griffin.
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About Pinewood Cemetery
Following its final burial in the 1940s, Pinewood Cemetery became overgrown and vandalized. In 1983, a group of citizens interested in history, genealogy and historic preservation took an interest in the restoration of the cemetery. The City of Coral Gables lent its support by the appointment of a citizens’ advisory board, and later by the allocation of funds for the restoration project. Because of the dedicated interest of this citizens board and the support of the City of Coral Gables, significant progress has been made in returning the cemetery to a place of beauty and dignity.