If you are a history buff, a business expert, or maybe a little of both, you might enjoy reading my latest articles, written for the Dade Heritage Trust’s bi-annual magazine, Preservation Today. Find out what some of Miami’s oldest businesses have to say about their secret of survival.
One of the oldest in Miami-Dade County and the oldest south of the Miami River, the Pinewood Cemetery is nestled in a residential area, among the beautiful homes of Coral Gables. Founded in 1855, and known as Larkins, Cocoplum and Pineywoods Cemetery, it eventually encompassed four acres and today is known by its last name, Pinewood.
The 268 plots were 50% sold and experts guess there are probably several hundred early settlers buried there. Through the decades and Florida’s rain and humidity, stones became eroded, records were lost and descents moved away erasing memories of the past. In the early 1980s local citizens got involved, cleaned up the property, found missing ancestors and recovered lost records. Where possible, missing stones were restored and new stones installed.
Today the grave markers offer an interesting snapshot into the early days of Coral Gables and Coconut Grove. Inscriptions and etched graphics reveal professions, birthplaces and the cause of death for many. Among those buried here were a farmer, blacksmith, electrician, carpenter, librarian, sponge fisherman and journalist. Men were veterans of the Seminole, Spanish-American, and Civil Wars. There are too many children and babies. Among the causes of death are the 1926 hurricane, a boating accident, and one young mother who died from “burns sustained while cooking supper,” one epithet I am unlikely to share.
Pinewood Cemetery is open 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset. There is no admission and informational brochures are posted at the entry. Located on Erwin Road (SW 47th Ave), a half block south of Sunset Drive (SW 72 St).