New Estes Funeral Home and Chapel, oldest Black-owned business on Plymouth Avenue, grand opening October 14: Estes’ Prairie School architecture brings beautiful, distinguished look

Penn Avenue facade of new Estes Funeral Home and Chapel.

ESTES. The transformation of the Estes Funeral Home and Chapel continues. This important and historic business has changed and evolved through several buildings and has grown in its

significance to this community. From its origination in 1962, at 1400 Plymouth Avenue North, Estes has slowly and deliberately changed its location, first to 2201 Plymouth Avenue and now to this new location at 2210 Plymouth Avenue. Looking at this new Prairie School architectural style building and comparing it to the previous ‘Ranchouse’ style building, and the original residential duplex, you can see the transformation of this building and business and corner. The Estes Funeral Home and Chapel has transformed itself over time and space as the oldest Black-owned business on Plymouth Avenue. This business is a positive asset to our community.

The existing building will soon close to allow for the expansion of the North Point Health and Wellness Center. North Point will expand beyond their current footprint, in both the northerly and southerly directions from their current layout. The current Estes building will be demolished in order to facilitate North Point’s expansion. Estes has begun their relocation, and their grand opening is scheduled for Sunday, October 14, 2018.

The design of this building adds a beautiful and distinguished look to the corner of Plymouth and Penn that has heretofore not existed. As we focus on the corner, and walk around the building, we notice the translucent transom fenestration pattern that faces both Plymouth and Penn Avenues. This feature of the building, creates s dialogue with the clerestory windows, located above the chapel. Also, the Penn Avenue facade grounds the building to the site with its linear vocabulary and strong horizontal nature of the ‘Prairie School’ style. There is also a prevalent use of brick and stone masonry materials. The Plymouth Avenue elevation has windows that serve the interior spaces, and a secondary exit from the building, located between the windows. This is not the main entry.

Proceeding around the corner, the primary facade of the building faces the parking lot. Lots of activity will occur here. The main feature is a canopy-covered entry. This leads directly into the interior lobby. This lobby, in turn, leads into the chapel. The chapel is appointed with a large, space, by width and length, with clerestory windows at the east and west ends of the room. The ‘front’ of the chapel will be the west wall. This glass wall also has two doors. One leads to the ‘reflection garden’, and the other allows for the casket to be moved to the hearse for the funeral procession.

This exterior facade also shows the fencing around the ‘reflection garden’. It is comprised of perforated metal panels and horizontal wood fencing, in alternating sections. This detailing, along with the new landscaping, creates a ‘soft’ place to accommodate the grief that may occur within the walls of this facility. There is a canopy above the ‘casket’ door out to the parking lot. Both of these exterior doors are also connected by another canopy. The primary facade of this building presents a full palate of sizes, shapes textures and information, such that one can ‘read’ the building for guidance and direction for entry and other functions, prior to opening the doors. The garage is at the south end of the building and houses the hearse and the limousine that will be utilized for the funeral processions. The south facade has no fenestration and is masonry only. The east (Plymouth Ave.) facade, also has no doors, but is articulated by groups of windows and masonry construction and the stepped-back clerestory windows above. This wall terminates in the transom window configuration at the corner.

The new parking lot, as it spreads along Plymouth Avenue, will provide a verdant and pastoral element to and otherwise build-up and urban neighborhood. The lot has a variety of trees and shrubs such as: maple, birch, dogwood, scotch pine, arborvitae, sumac. juniper, sage and others. This lot is striped for thirty-three vehicles. The funeral processions to the centenary, will be staged from this lot.

This is a well-designed building, and site plan. It is a graceful and elegant addition to our community. Embrace the peace that will prevail from this corner.

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