In 2018, Milwaukee architect Keith Stachowiak and his wife, Elisa Stachowiak, bought a former Riverwest funeral home to serve as their single family residence.
The building was designed in 1928 and housed the Schramka Funeral Home until 2001.
The Stachowiaks have put an extraordinary amount of work into restoring the funeral home and are now ready to share their unusual space on Thursday, May 6 at 6 p.m. The cost is $5-10 and registration is available here.
This program, a segment of Historic Milwaukee's "Traces & Spaces" series, will be held live virtually on Zoom and attendees will receive a link to join the program before the event.
“We actually didn't intend to buy a funeral parlor - it just kind of found us. We lived down the street for a number of years, and love Riverwest,” says Stachowiak. “My mother and my wife's father grew up just blocks away, and both of them actually came to services here when they were younger.”
Th 4,800-square-foot house, which the Stachowiaks named “The Parlor,” has three bedrooms in the upstairs apartment where the original undertaker and his wife raised four children. The ground floor features two large Visitation Rooms, a lobby and office, and an attached garage.
“The garage is extra deep to fit two hearses, and has a spigot and drain to wash them in the winter,” says Stachowiak.
Since purchasing the home, the couple have restored most of the original features, including the floors, plasterwork, windows and more. They’ve also furnished much of it with original funeral home furniture and lighting from the 1930s to 1960s.
“We had a lot to start with, actually, including the original chapel chairs, casket torchieres and even a painting that has been hanging on the same wall since it was built," says Stachowiak. “This may be creepy to some people (not us) but we have an intact embalming room on the ground floor, which we mostly use as a bar for parties (hint: the embalming table is the bar). We recently had the opportunity to purchase a lot of vintage embalming equipment, so our future Halloween parties might be a bit dark."
For more information and to register, go here.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.