Jacob Schoen and Son Funeral Home on Canal Street is a building of such an interesting and beautiful architectural style. Was it built as a funeral home or was it ever a private residence?
The Schoen family can trace its roots in the local funeral business to 1874. That’s when Jacob Schoen and his partner Henry Frantz, German immigrants who operated a carriage and livery business, opened a funeral home at 155 N. Peters Street. In 1879, the business moved to Elysian Fields Avenue. In 1898, Schoen bought out Frantz and went into partnership with his son Philip, resulting in the Jacob Schoen and Son company name.
Jacob Schoen and Son moved into its current location at 3827 Canal Street in 1936. According to the Preservation Resource Center, the building, which dates to the 1870s, was originally an ornate wood-frame Queen Anne style residence, owned by the Tanneret family.
In 1906, it was sold to Mary Ellen Rehm Virgin and Uriah J. Virgin, a well-known local florist. Newspaper ads from the 1920s list the address of his floral nursery as 3827 Canal Street, the same as the residence. In 1931, the Virgins sold the property to National Undertakers Inc., which established a mortuary business on the site. The building was renovated into the Spanish Revival-style stucco mansion we see today. Another funeral home business, E.J. Ranson & Sons, Inc., purchased the property before selling it to the Schoens in 1936.
The business is now run by Patrick Schoen, a member of the family’s fifth generation. In 2016, the funeral home built a 5,000-square-foot chapel on the property to accommodate Masses and other religious services.