from hearses to hamburgers

… in a manner of speaking.

Outside of my apartment, there’s one building that I pass by foot and automobile more than any other in town:

The historic C.C. Mellinger funeral home.

Half a block from my residence, the family-run mortuary was built in 1909; it seemed a classy operation. It hosted at least one VIP funeral — nearly the town’s entirely police force was present at the service for a 35-year-old officer who died of a kidney ailment resulting from yellow fever contracted while serving our country overseas during World War II:

police motorcycles line the road

The home also serviced the community with shiny hearse and a special car that carried flowers to funerals:

B&W photos courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library’s image archives here and here.

The adjoining chapel, erected in 1919 and a stone’s throw from my dark cold hovel, never fails to escape my vision, its steeple piercing past the low skyline into the indeterminable gray sky:

view from a window

I can’t help but be intrigued by the spirits and grief and prayers and secrets contained behind the chapel’s tight-lipped window:

Time marches on. The funeral home is no longer. No matter how often I pass, the sign never fails to elicit a chuckle … now serving the community like a very wayward McDonald’s:


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. longeyesamurai
    May 29, 2011 @ 18:19:48

    “National Meth Center”? Is that some new form of West Coast fast food? 🙂


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