Anyone who has ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors at Moore Funeral Home, 142 N. Washington St., will have the opportunity to find out during the Meridian-Forest Historic District Home Tour this Sunday. Proprietors Rob and Vanita Moore plan to grant access to rooms that have never before been opened to the public.
The tour will be a rare chance to look around the second story and to view what Rob describes as the "most modern surgical room in Indiana." He says they are also looking forward to showing their guests the changes they have made to modernize the house, "while maintaining the historic integrity."
The house, built in 1906 by Mr. Smith at a cost of only $12,500, was initially a dwelling for Smith and his family. It was later sold to Mr. and Mrs. Fuller. The Fullers lived in the home for a short time, then transformed the place into three apartments. Rob's grandparents bought the building from the Fullers and turned it into a funeral home.
The business has grown considerably since that time. In recent years, the Moores have undertaken a $500,000 restoration and expansion project. Much of what they hoped to accomplish has already been completed.
The Moores began by ensuring that the basic structure was in good condition. Among other things, the house was rewired, new plumbing was installed and steel beams were placed under the first floor to prevent it from sagging.
The original light fixtures and wall sconces have been restored and rooms have been recarpeted and wallpapered. Hired craftsmen took great care in carving oak woodwork that replicates that which already graced the doorways inside. Due to their careful attention to detail, it is difficult to distinguish the old from the new. Rob says that visitors often ask, "Where did you build on?"
Although most of it cannot be seen from the street, about 5,200 square feet of space has been added on to the building. In fact, Rob has found that a number of people "still think of it as the community's smallest funeral home when it is actually the largest."
Rob is anticipating a fairly large turnout for the tour because there "will be something here for everyone." People will get to see a "completely restored and maintained mansion" and they will get a "behind the scenes look" at how "one of the nation's finest funeral homes."
Other houses that will be featured on the Meridian-Forest Historic District Home Tour, in downtown Brazil, just north of U.S. 40, will be the homes of Todd and Angel Jacoby, Stephen and Jan Stapp, Greg and Kathy Comp and Linda Cooper. Refreshments will be served on Robert and Jodi Shepards lawn at 1003 N. Meridian.
Tickets can be obtained at Page's or Lynn's Pharmacy or by calling Veda Bussing at 448-8595 or Jan Stapp at 442-1423.