Pine Hill Cemetery Lantern Tour

Auburn residents will get the opportunity to see the city's past and some of its most beloved and quirky characters come to life at the Pine Hill Cemetery Lantern Tour, which runs Thursday and Friday. 

Hosted by the Auburn Heritage Association, the lantern tour will feature residents portraying some well-known historical icons, such as Auburn founder Judge John Harper, and some of its more oddball characters, like Uncle Billy Mitchell, who was buried with his feather bed at Pine Hill Cemetery in 1856.

The tour will also feature some newcomers to the tour, including Arthur Joel Thigpen, who grew up on Gay Street and died in a training exercise in World War I, and Auburn's first artist, Alice Holifield, a teacher who died at age 25 in 1883 from typhoid after catching it while visiting family in Atlanta.

"She was written up nicely in some of the newspapers for her art and her art teaching," said Sam Hendrix, who wrote some of the scripts for this year's tour. "I have not found any of her paintings that have survived, and I sure would like to see what she did. 

"I don't think anybody in Auburn would even know that name today, but she was really prominent in her time for a young woman, and then had that horrible illness that killed her just in a matter of days .... So I think it's a great story about somebody who was really doing something great in Auburn, a young woman who had really reached a nice level for her career and then boom, it was over."

All of the veterans who are buried in the cemetery will also be honored during the tour, including Lt. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, who will be portrayed by his grandson and former Planning Commissioner Charles Pick. 

"We're going to introduce some of those veterans and then we're going to have the bugler play taps for all of the veterans that are in the cemetery," said Mary Norman, president of the Auburn Heritage Association.

The lantern tour at Pine Hill Cemetery, located on Armstrong Street, will run Thursday and Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. 

T-shirts and a book on Pine Hill Cemetery will be for sale at the event.  For more information, go to

"This is a wonderful way for people to really learn what early Auburn history is about and why Auburn is as great as it is today," Norman said. 

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