With great forethought into its design and materials, under the direction of architect Charles A. Hausler, the team constructed a beautiful tudor style stone structure. Kessler & Maguire was the first building in the northeast built as a true funeral home. Very little has been done to alter the beauty of the structure, with the exception of a large display room and the second apartment was converted into a visitation room.
A freshwater well was the basis for the 1927 air conditioning system. It could keep the building cool when outside temperatures were about 85 degrees. Cold water was pumped from the well into a storage tank, then pumped into large coils in the basement cooling system and cooled air was forced through the coil and ducts into all areas of the building. This was quite an uncommon comfort in 1927. Now, because more precise temperatures are expected, an added compressor assists the original system with automatic temperature controls.
The halls and offices are now carpeted, where once Oriental rugs covered the terrazzo floors. The reception room, with its huge fireplace, is beautifully furnished in Chinese teakwood and a chandelier of hand washed gold metal and Czechoslovak hand cut crystal. On the north side of building is the large chapel with its high arched ceilings with heavy timbers meeting each of the walls. The chapel also houses a two manual church pipe organ. The alter painting of Christ Risen from the Tomb was the work of a local Saint Paul artist, whereby it had previously hung in a West End district church. Toward the back of the first floor is a large coffee lounge displaying the portraits of the firm’s founders. An elevator services all floors and makes the facility handicapped accessible.
The second floor houses a large visitation room, an arrangement office, administrative offices and an apartment. At one time, the visitation was at the deceased’s home and a funeral would be almost four or five days later. This long ceremony changed by the 1920’s to a burial period of no more than two or three days with visitation in a funeral home. The family usually wanted to stay near their deceased loved one, so an apartment with bedroom, bath, dining room and kitchenette was necessary. The custom of remaining with the deceased has changed, thus the conversion of the additional apartment into a large visitation room with a cozy sitting areas was prudent to meet the changing needs of funeral service. The outside beauty of the Old English architecture is surrounded by well groomed grounds, wide driveways and an Old English ornamental fountain. The neon sign on the ceramic tile roof is an original, erected in the 1920’s.