Days Gone By - stories from the past

She died before Christmas – Parents love for a child has no bounds – this story is a heart breaker

A cemetery is a strange place to find a miniature red-brick house complete with windows, fireplace, front porch with a mailbox. There is such a house in Oakwood Cemetery in Lanett, Alabama.

According to the Alabama Currents magazine article, by Lanett City Hall Human Resource Manager Jennie Gunnells, published in 2010, Nadine, daughter of Julian Comer and Alma Earles, was diagnosed with diphtheria, a contagious respiratory tract infection, in November 1933. Her health worsened quickly when she contracted pneumonia a few weeks later.

Since she was so ill, her parents gave her a doll and a tea set, but Nadine was not satisfied with these gifts. She wanted a playhouse. Her father was building one and he planned to give it to her for Christmas. When Nadine heard her father’s explanation she replied, “Me want it now.”nadine's playhouse3

She died before a few days before Christmas and her distraught father never forget her words. According to a Valley Times-News article, by Jim Watson, published in 1989, the partially finished playhouse was transferred to Oakwood cemetery, and Nadine’s parents hired a contractor to complete it. Nadine’s wish was granted in the spring of 1934. She finally had the dollhouse she always wanted.

Her parents filled the dollhouse with toys and continued to for years after Nadine’s death.nadine's playhouse 5


Her parents filled the dollhouse with toys and continued to for years after Nadine’s death. The house has been turned over to the city to keep. Her parents are buried on the same site.


The Tombstone Inscription Reads:

“Our little daughter,
sweetest in the world.
Little Nadine
April 3, 1929
Dec. 18, 1933
In Heaven we hope to meet.
Me want it now.”

Nadine's playhouse party




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Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. This house in the cemetery is awesome.

  2. I was raised in the Valley in my younger years in my childhood, till i was about 8-10. Then moved to Opelika. Since my family from both sides is from all over the Valley area, we visited quite often. So, I would see that beautiful house from time to time. I didn’t know the full story until I was an adult, married n have children of my on. It is a very special place and I hope it always continues to be taken care of.

  3. Shug McKay

    That cemetery is just a few miles from my house.

  4. Joyce Cantrell

    What a sad story. So glad I saw this.

  5. Sharon Symonds

    Been by there so many times. Enjoyed the video and the cotton mill video also. Parents & grandparents have roots there.

  6. Gina Boulware Willis

    I know that cemetery! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Joann Brown

    What a precious undying love.

  8. Glenn Holland

    Here’s another example.
    Idk that I’d call it weird though.

    1. Janet Clausen-Baggett

      I wonder if the two Indiana memorials were constructed by the same contractor? The deaths were 9 years apart, but the structure is the same… Outside trim is different, but otherwise, the same.

  9. Shelia Phillips Evans

    Wow! What a memorial for the little girl. I have been through Lanett several times. If I go through it again, I want to look this cemetery up and see this.

    1. If you know where Lanett High School is, the cemetery is behind it. If you’re coming up in front of the school, on your right is the playground, you’d take a left at the red light. Or if your coming up straight from hwy29, then go straight thru the red light. The cemetery is on the right, you can see the doll house from the main road. It’s very darling to see.

      1. Sorry, not the high school..the jr high school

  10. Jeanne Gibbs

    The loss of a child is like a knife in your heart….I know.

  11. Pat Power Bruce

    I grew up there and saw this precious little house many times. Such a wonderful tribute.

  12. Patsy Caldwell Kenney

    Growing up in that area I have seen this and told the story when I was a child. They are all together in Heaven. RIP

  13. Michelle Clark Massey

    I used to teach at Lanett Jr. High. Neat story .

  14. Tracy A Stephens

    My wife and I lived in the Lanett area years ago. One day as we were driving around we saw this little brick building in the cemetery. At first we thought it to be a care-taker’s tool shed but it looked out of place. We stopped, got out and walked up to it. When we realized what it was we were shocked. Did a little research to find out more about it. All I can say is that this is such a fitting and tragic tribute.

  15. So sad. It is a shame they did not have it put at a children’s hospital courtyard or somewhere it would benefit someone in honor of their daughter.

  16. Lynn OLeary

    I use to live a couple of streets over from this cemetery. Passed it everyday. Such sweet loving tribute.

  17. Betty Broder

    I have been there. My sister, Bobbie lives just up the street from there.

  18. Jane Turnham

    I have seen this precious house many times. I have Aunts and other family buried in this cemetery.

  19. I’ve noticed, over the years of tromping around cemeteries, that when parents lose a child, sometimes they cannot let go. So they put up another and another head stone and statues of dogs and hunting gear, etc. Basically all that child enjoyed. One very poor couple, back in the early 1900s, built a rounded headstone of cement with marbles pushed into and all around the structure. It finally fell apart almost 100 years later. So sad, because it wasn’t fixed. It was just gone.

  20. Marty Kutsch Krueger

    My parents lived in Lanett before they passed away….saw this little house many times….

  21. Sharon Wilkerson Harding

    Is the little girl buried beneath the doll house?

    1. Denise Osbourn

      If you watch the video, you can see the slab grave marker inside the house. The tea set and some of the stuffed animals are sitting on it.

  22. Michael Simms

    I grew up in Lanett and my memory as child was such sadness when I went by the little house. My grandparents are buried close by .

  23. David W. Maddux

    I grew up a portion of my younger life in Lanett and live in Valley. I see it from time to time and visited the doll house before. It is a touching story.

  24. Tammy Castanedo

    i live very close to this location, I must go see for myself

  25. Joan Holt Moody

    So sad , but wonderful too.

  26. Melisa Kelley Flowers

    This cemetery was behind my grandparents house. I remember the doll house well.

  27. Virginia McVey

    I have been there . It is amazing

  28. Joe Aderholdt
  29. Joe Aderholdt
  30. Rhonda Umfress Johnson

    so sweet but so sad to loose your daughter oh my!

  31. Mike Hand

    Touched my Heart; Great but sad story!

  32. Vicke Patterson

    I have been there many times !!!! So beautiful and calming !!!

  33. Hope Powell-Uptain

    We lived across the street from the cemetry . As a kid I would walk around the whole cemetery, We called it the doll house. I would sit there looking in the windows wishing I knew that lovely child. The house has been refinished over the years , In the early70`s it was wood painted white. Momma & Daddy still live there

  34. Hope Powell-Uptain

    We lived across the street from the cemetry . As a kid I would walk around the whole cemetery, We called it the doll house. I would sit there looking in the windows wishing I knew that lovely child. The house has been refinished over the years , In the early70`s it was wood painted white. Momma & Daddy still live there

  35. Jackie Wade

    Would love to see this. Childhood disease used to kill so many children. Marvin’s grandfather had two little girls die in one week.

  36. Melanie Nelson Hall

    This is in the cemetery behind what used to be my grandparent’s house. I remember going to that dollhouse many times during my childhood.

  37. Jeffrey Hall

    My grandpa is buried near hers.

  38. Louise S. Brasher

    Have visited this cemetary several times.

  39. Jenn Calhoun

    John Mark I don’t know that I ever knew this part of the story… Did you?

  40. Betty Baker Hatter

    I have driven by this cemetery and knew little of the story of this doll house. Enjoyed reading the full story of what happened to the very young child.

  41. Paulette Wilkins

    I’ve been to her house many times and always have to wipe a tear away when I leave.Its heartbreaking

  42. My Mother and Father are buried within sight of the Dollhouse. I remember seeing this my whole life. It’s a beautiful tribute from their family to little Nadine.

  43. Kim Brooks

    Wow. I go thru Lanett all the time. Going to have to find this.

  44. Rachel Beau

    What a sweet and sad story! Thank you for finding it and sharing it with us! I am learning so many interesting things about Alabama that I never knew!!!

  45. Edna Moss

    A parents love has no bounds

  46. Christi Gibson

    Oh, Joe! What a great post. Will add this to my bucket list. Thank you for sharing

  47. Vonnie Campbell

    Since I grew up in Valley, I have, also, seen it many times. It is a beautiful little house filled with dolls and toy furniture.

  48. Andy Charlene Griffin

    Brenda Stephens Harrelson Bear Harrelson

  49. Harold Prather

    Very familiar with that little house.

  50. Angie Corum

    Great story,putting this on my list to see in Al.

  51. Rhonda Montgomery Wirick

    Collen have you been there? So sad!

  52. Nancy Quinn Sprayberry

    This is in Lanett, Al . If you are in Lanett, you must see it.

  53. Sam Harris

    Several relatives buried near this.

  54. Very Heartwarming and sad at the same time. I’d love to visit this doll house the next time I’m visiting family in AL.

  55. Eunice Manning

    All that background is houses now

  56. Betty J. Collins

    Well worth a visit to Lanett to see this. It is so sweet.

  57. Dave Cooper

    A father’s love for his daughter, heartbreaking.

  58. Mary Newton

    Beautiful but heartbreaking.

  59. It surely was a heartbreaking story. Their love for their child has no limits and I am about to cry. Such a sad story!

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