Use the smaller-sized text Use the larger-sized text Use the very large text

Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

View Summary/Photo Page

Back

Koelsch Funeral Home (Traci Schnell photo, 2009)

Koelsch Funeral Home (Traci Schnell photo, 2009)

Koelsch Funeral Home (Traci Schnell photo, 2009)

Koelsch Funeral Home fireplace detail (Traci Schnell photo, 2009)

Koelsch Funeral Home
7622 W. Greenfield Avenue, West Allis, Milwaukee County
Date of Construction: 1937
Architect: Raymond W. Dwyer

The Joseph Koelsch family moved to West Allis in 1902, the same year that the village was incorporated. Joseph and his son Frank were among the early merchants to establish a business along W. Greenfield Avenue, the village’s primary commercial district. Founded in 1903, the Koelsch concern was originally a combination of shoe sales and picture frame making; however they added the undertaking trade following Frank’s completion of a six-week course at Chicago’s Morris School of Embalming. The Koelsch family continued to operate its funeral business out of the storefront at 71st Street & W. Greenfield Avenue until 1937, at which time they moved into their new quarters at 7622 W. Greenfield Avenue.

Milwaukee architect Raymond W. Dwyer designed the new English-inspired, Tudor Revival-style funeral home and it officially opened to the public in September 1937. Faced with local Lannon stone (limestone), the structure features steeply pitched gables, cast stone trim and multiple-light, leaded-glass, casement windows—all common characteristics of the style. While the interior included all of requisite rooms for its efficient function, it also featured two “modern” advancements—air conditioning, as well a sound system that could carry music from the organ room throughout the building. The second floor was designed to include residential quarters; however, it was not fully finished until 1967.

Although the Koelsch family is no longer associated with the business, the structure, known now as Church & Chapel, continues to function as a funeral home. It is, however, open by appointment only.

Back

select text size Use the smaller-sized textUse the larger-sized textUse the very large text