Furniture and Undertaking: An Odd Combination?

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.

Ryan & Co. Furniture and Undertaking, circa 1900 Shawnee, KS Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/1827

Ryan & Co. Furniture and Undertaking, circa 1900
Shawnee, KS
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/1827

Ryan & Co. Furniture and Undertaking, circa 1903 Shawnee, KS Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/1663

Ryan & Co. Furniture and Undertaking, circa 1903
Shawnee, KS
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/1663

Julien Furniture and Undertaking was located on the southeast corner of Park and Chestnut in Olathe, KS. It later became Julien Funeral Home.

Julien Furniture and Undertaking building, sometime around 1915-1925 Located on the southeast corner of Park and Chestnut in Olathe Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/opl/id/1832

Julien Furniture and Undertaking building, sometime around 1915-1925
Located on the southeast corner of Park and Chestnut in Olathe
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/opl/id/1832

Julien Funeral Home, Olathe in the 1960s Located on the southeast corner of Park and Chestnut in Olathe Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/opl/id/386

Julien Funeral Home, Olathe in the 1960s
Located on the southeast corner of Park and Chestnut in Olathe
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/opl/id/386

Julien Funeral Home, Olathe in the 1960s Located on the southeast corner of Park and Chestnut in Olathe Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/opl/id/385

Julien Funeral Home, Olathe in the 1960s
Located on the southeast corner of Park and Chestnut in Olathe
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/opl/id/385

Advertisements from the 1922 Atlas of Johnson County indicate a thriving furniture and undertaking market throughout the county, from Spring Hill to De Soto.

Advertisement in the 1922 Atlas of Johnson County Original document: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/atlas/id/162

Advertisement in the 1922 Atlas of Johnson County
Original document: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/atlas/id/162

Advertisement in the 1922 Atlas of Johnson County Original document: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/atlas/id/162

Advertisement in the 1922 Atlas of Johnson County
Original document: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/atlas/id/162

Advertisement in the 1922 Atlas of Johnson County Original document: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/atlas/id/162

Advertisement in the 1922 Atlas of Johnson County
Original document: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/atlas/id/162

 Renouards School of Embalming, Kansas City, KS, circa 1900 Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/3035


Renouards School of Embalming, Kansas City, KS, circa 1900
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/3035

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2 Comments

Filed under Business, Research

2 responses to “Furniture and Undertaking: An Odd Combination?

  1. Reblogged this on Diana Staresinic-Deane and commented:
    JoCo History Blog has a great post on Johnson County, Kansas, businesses that specialized in furniture making and undertaking.

  2. Admiring the hard work you put into your website and in depth information you provide. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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