6 Oldest Funeral Home in America

6 Oldest Funeral Home in America

Funeral homes have been around for several decades, and play an important role in helping people start to move on after the loss of a loved one. America is home to hundreds of funeral homes, some of which have been around for over 100 years. In this article, we’re going to look more closely at some of the oldest funeral homes in America, whether they are still operating today, and where they are located. Let’s dive right in. 

6 Oldest Funeral Homes in America

6. McElhaney – Hart Funeral Home

Year of opening: 1870
Location: 715 N Jefferson St, Huntington, IN 46750, United States
Still open today: Yes

McElhaney – Hart Funeral HomePhoto Source: Mcelhaneyhartfuneralhome.com

The McElhaney – Hart Funeral Home has been around for several decades, and much like the other funeral homes that we’ve listed, this one is also a family-run business! It was first started by Marion B. Stultz towards the end of the 19th century, in 1870. However, it’s interesting to note that the business was later repurchased in 1930 by the W. R. Briggs Family.

The Briggs family later moved the business and has remained in the same location ever since. Over the years, this funeral home was purchased and repurchased by various families, indicating that it changed hands multiple times.

Did you know? 

The McElhaney – Hart Funeral Home is located inside the Taylor-Zent home, which is known for being a historical landmark building in America.


5. Wendt Funeral Home

Year of opening: 1866
Location: 1811 15th St Pl, Moline, IL 61265, United States
Still open today: Yes

Wendt Funeral HomePhoto Source: Wendtfuneralhome.com

Wendt Funeral Home was started in 1866 by J. Robert Earler. He was a German immigrant who moved to Illinois in the middle of the 19th century. Earler was a skilled cabinet maker who transitioned into building caskets for deceased farmers.

Several years later, Earler started his own funeral parlor once the Civil War ended. His son-in-law later took over the business, after which his grandsons inherited and ran it. In the years that followed, other members of Earler’s family purchased a new location for the funeral home, and today, that is where the Wendt Funeral home is located.

Did you know? 

The Wendt Funeral Home is the fifth-largest funeral home in America and is the longest-standing funeral home in Illinois.


4. Ashton Funeral Home

Year of opening: 1847
Location: 1337 Northampton St, Easton, PA 18042, United States
Still open today: Yes

Ashton Funeral HomePhoto Source: Ashtonfuneralhome.com

The Ashton Funeral Home was first started in 1847 by William Keller. Unike some of the other funeral home founders mentioned on this list, Keller started his business as an coffin maker and undertaker. Some years after starting his business, Keller’s son-in-law, Frank Ashton, took over it and managed it for the rest of his life.

Over the years, the funeral home moved to bigger locations, though it has remained a family business since its inception.

Did you know? 

Frank Ashton’s sister-in-law Anna became Ashton Funeral Home’s funeral director, making her one of the first female funeral directors in Pennsylvania.


3. Bachman Snyder Funeral Home

Year of opening: 1769
Location: 7 S Decatur St, Strasburg, PA 17579, United States
Still open today: Yes

Bachman Snyder Funeral HomePhoto Source: Snyderfuneralhome.com

The Bachman Snyder Funeral Home originally started as the Bachman Funeral Home back in 1769. Johannes Bachman was a Swiss Mennonite who was the founder of this funeral home. Bachman grew up in Pennsylvania and continued to have strong ties to his hometown until he passed away. His funeral home remained a family-run business for several decades after that.

However, in 2019, the Bachman Funeral Home joined forces with the Charles F. Snyder Funeral Homes & Crematory business and became the Bachman Snyder home. Ever since then, it has continued to remain a family-run business with members from both families working alongside each other.

Did you know? 

The Bachman Snyder Funeral Home business has branches in five locations across America.


2. Kirk and Nice Funeral Home

Year of opening: 1761
Location: 80 Stenton Ave, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462, United States
Still open today: Yes

Kirk and Nice Funeral HomePhoto Source: Kirkandnicefuneralhomes

Kirk and Nice is probably the second oldest funeral home in all of America that has been operating continuously since 1761. It is located in Plymouth, Pennsylvania and was first started by Jacob Knorr, an architect. He purchased the land that the funeral home is currently based on, and eventually set up a carpentry shop. At the time, Knorr focused mostly on building and supplying furniture to the members of the small town, and built very few coffins.

Over the years, Jacob Knorr mentored and trained young apprentices at the shop, including his own sons. His sons George and Jacob Jr. eventually took over the store after he passed. Though it was sold to a man named John Nice, Nice’s future son-in-law Benjamin R. Kirk took over the business, and it has remained a family-run funeral home ever since.

Did you know? 

Kirk and Nice offers a variety of services, including scattering the ashes of loved ones at sea and photo tribute videos.


1. Bucktrout Funeral Home

Year of opening: 1759
Location: 4124 Ironbound Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23188, United States
Still open today: Yes

Bucktrout Funeral HomePhoto Source: Bucktrout Funeral Home

Bucktrout Funeral Home is the oldest funeral home in America, and it is still functioning even today! It was first started in 1759, and originally operated as a cabinet-making business. It was opened in Colonial Williamsburg by Anthony Hay and Benjamin Bucktrout.

At the time, both Bucktrout and Hay would make coffins for members of their community who had passed on and even held burials at the Bucktrout farm. As time went on, their business shifted away from making furniture and transitioned into making caskets.

Did you know? 

The Bucktrout Funeral Home was America’s first funeral home that operated a crematory; it owned the crematory as well.


Conclusion

Funeral homes help people all over the world let go of their loved ones. As you can see from this article, the funeral homes mentioned above have helped thousands of Americans say goodbye to their friends and family members in safe and comfortable places.

In this article, we walked you through a list of some of the oldest funeral homes in America. We were interested to learn that all of these businesses have remained in their respective families for more than 4 or 5 generations, and have existed for over a century each. We hope you learned something new today! 

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