Situated between Matt’s Massive Breakfast and the Coronado Resort on First Road, there’s a historic stucco constructing you might have walked proper previous with out noticing.
As soon as tucked between two homes within the residential space now often known as the Evans-Churchill neighborhood, the Merryman Funeral House stays an oddity. Why? Nicely, why was it constructed there? Nobody appears to know. However we do know an awesome deal concerning the individuals behind the identify.
Phoenix’s Early Undertakers: The Merrymans
The founder, George F. Merryman, and his spouse Holland, journeyed west from Indiana in 1891, the place he had raised prized breeding inventory horses. They settled in Los Angeles, and finally grew to become administrators of Dexter-Sampson undertakers. This was the primary indication that Merryman had gone into the funeral enterprise.
The Merrymans lived in L.A. till 1899, once they moved to Phoenix. Merryman briefly joined W.A. Davis’ endeavor enterprise, however purchased him out when Davis determined to move to Nome Metropolis, Alaska to be a miner circa 1903. (Davis wished to dig up gold reasonably than bury individuals.) When Merryman took over, he introduced in a brand new accomplice, S.A. Holley, and altered the identify to Merryman & Holley Funeral Parlor. Initially situated at 24 W. Jefferson Road, the agency then moved to 114 W. Adams Road.
Merryman Funeral House Moved 5 Occasions: A Closing Resting Place in Evans Churchill
S.A. Holley disappeared from the scene round 1910, and Merryman’s subsequent accomplice was W. J. Hayt. Merryman & Hayt was situated at 124 N. Second Avenue. That partnership was short-lived as Merryman died in August 1913, though Hayt remained for an additional 18 months or so. Hayt left to develop into a Metropolis of Phoenix sanitary inspector.
Merryman’s spouse, Holland, who had been a schoolteacher in Indiana in addition to Phoenix, took over the funeral parlor upon her husband’s dying. After Hayt’s departure, Holland Merryman maintained the enterprise on the Second Avenue web site till circa 1925 with the help of Vernon W. Evans, who finally grew to become Mrs. Merryman’s enterprise accomplice. Evans had obtained his mortician’s license by means of the Cincinnati School of Embalming in 1920, the identical establishment George Merryman attended. In line with Evans’ obituary, he began off answering telephones and driving horse-drawn hearses for the agency.
Mrs. Merryman then moved the enterprise to a a lot “farther north” web site at 2400 N. Central Avenue the place Merryman Funeral House remained till she and Evans bought so much in what was often known as the Churchill Addition, and had a brand new constructing constructed in 1937. Whereas on the North Central Avenue web site, the funeral dwelling was in command of the burial of Governor George W. P. Hunt and his spouse of their mausoleum (pyramid) in Papago Park.
The ultimate “resting” place of Merryman Funeral House was at 817 N. First Road. Over time, the enterprise grew to become often known as Merryman-Evans Funeral House. Holland Merryman died in 1949, however Evans continued the enterprise retaining the Merryman identify. Evans retired in 1957, and the enterprise ceased operation round 1959.
Rising From the Lifeless: A New Life For Merryman Funeral House
The constructing was later a restoration heart and its best-known occupant in latest instances was the Paulina Miller Gallery. At present, this Spanish Mission Revival construction is present process upgrades for a brand new life, rising from the “lifeless” like Lazarus. Andrew P. Mirtich, who owns Chambers and Seamus McCaffrey’s, each situated in Downtown Phoenix, bought the property in 2016. Mirtich’s four-year lengthy venture will convert the Merryman Funeral House right into a bar and restaurant full with outside seating space. It’s slated to open subsequent yr.
George F. Merryman’s obituary referred to as him a “man of quiet reserve and retiring habits.” He is likely to be fairly shocked that the constructing constructed in 1937 would stay on, permitting his identify to be prominently recorded within the annals of Phoenix historical past.