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There’s Something Incredibly Unique About This One Gravesite In Alabama

While driving on First Street in Lanett, Alabama, a brick playhouse will likely get your attention. This 5-foot-tall playhouse is complete with windows, a front porch, a lawn, a sidewalk, a fireplace and a mailbox. Besides its great detail, what makes this playhouse incredibly unique is that it’s the mausoleum of a little girl who died in 1933 at the age of four. This little girl’s name was Nadine Earles (aka Little Nadine Earles) and her grave is in Oakwood Cemetery.

So, how did Nadine come about getting a playhouse that every little girl could only dream of?

Here’s how the story goes:

In November 1933, Nadine was diagnosed with diphtheria – an upper respiratory tract infection. A few weeks later, she caught pneumonia. Not knowing if she would make it to Christmas, Nadine’s parents, Julian and Alma Earles, decided to go on ahead and give her the Christmas gifts they got her. They gave her a tea set and a doll. She loved both of those gifts, but what she really wanted was a playhouse. Her father had actually started building her a playhouse that he had planned to give her Christmas morning. Unfortunately, it wasn’t finished when he gave Nadine her other gifts. When Nadine found this out, she told her father, “Me want it now!”

On December 18, 1933, Nadine died. And even though she never received her playhouse, her parents were still going to do everything they could to make sure she got it. Julian and Alma eventually moved the unfinished playhouse to Oakwood Cemetery and hired a contractor to complete it. In the spring of 1934, her playhouse (sometimes referred to as a dollhouse) was finished.

For many years following Nadine’s death, Julian and Alma placed their daughter’s Christmas gifts inside the playhouse. They usually bought whatever toy was popular that year. A red tricycle, several baby dolls, and a couple of teddy bears are examples of gifts they left her. In Nadine’s parents’ minds, she was always going to be their 4-year-old little girl. After Nadine’s parents died, they were both buried in the yard of the playhouse.

Today, Nadine’s grave receives visitors from all over the country—making it one of the most visited gravesites in Alabama, and maybe even the entire South. During Christmastime, her playhouse is decorated and the mailbox is usually stuffed with letters. What makes Nadine’s gravesite incredibly unique is the fact that there are only a few gravesites like it in the entire United States.

For a tour of Little Nadine Earles’ playhouse, take a look at this video:

Jennifer
Jennifer is the Alabama staff writer for Only In Your State.