Furniture and undertaking may at first seem like an odd combination. However, many early furniture makers also built coffins as part of their work. These enterprising businessmen realized that in addition to caskets they could provide funeral services and care to the families of the deceased. They would often expand their businesses to include undertaking by earning an embalming license from a school like Renouards School of Embalming in Kansas City, KS.
We found some great photos of furniture/undertaking businesses from Johnson County’s history, along with some advertisements in the 1922 Atlas of Johnson County, and a photo of the Renouards School of Embalming’s class in 1900.
Ryan and Company Furniture and Undertaking in Shawnee, KS. It appears the business was quite successful and able to expand to a much larger storefront in the early 1900s.
Julien Furniture and Undertaking was located on the southeast corner of Park and Chestnut in Olathe, KS. It later became Julien Funeral Home.
Advertisements from the 1922 Atlas of Johnson County indicate a thriving furniture and undertaking market throughout the county, from Spring Hill to De Soto.