Chicago area Undertakers

Hundreds of small undertakers operated in Chicago and Cook County out of storefront establishments providing services and funeral merchandise.

Many early undertakers were in downtown storefronts on Madison, Wells (formerly Fifth Avenue) as well as main arteries and streets such as Clark,  State, Halsted, Lincoln, Milwaukee, Archer, North, and Wells wright


Although the undertaker had a small storefront, for many years their services were performed in the home. Using portable equipment, hey would wash and embalm the body and then place the body in the casket for viewing. The casket was placed in the largest room, usually in the front parlor.   Folding chairs were provided by the undertaker to seat the family and friends. For a large funeral, the undertaker often would rent funeral chairs from a small rental company.


B. E. Arntzen Undertaker storefront at 810 North Clark Street and ambulance

In the 1920’s John Sbabaro’s Funeral Parlor at 738 N. Wells, embalmed and held services for many gangsters, including Dion O’Banion, Hymie Weiss, and Vincent “The Schemer” Drucci. William Schofield’s Flower Shop, located at 738 North State, directly across the street from Holy Name was the florist of choice for gangster funerals. It was owned in part by Dion O’Banion.imagesZWVKT7OE


Later they became a neighborhood fixture largely serving an ethnic or religious community and often in the shadow of a church or synagogue.




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As funerals, especially those of notable citizens required a larger facility or church, undertakers began building larger funeral parlors capable of holding more mourners than could be accommodated in a family home. In later years, the funeral tended to move to the undertaker’s establishment, the “funeral home” where the needs of the funeral process could be better accommodated. No longer would the undertaker need to bring a portable embalming table to the house, or carry a heavy casket up three flights of stairs to a cramped front parlor.

mt clair 6901 belmont


Today’s  funeral home operation has well outgrown the neighborhood storefront. Most are operated in large modern and comfortable facilities.. Most family-run funeral homes are no longer privately owned but are now owned and operated by large corporations. The original family name is often retained, but it is now part of a large conglomerate. In larger metropolitan areas, embalming is now done in one central location for dozens of funeral homes within the same ownership chain.

One of the first undertakers still operating today was Fred H. Drake, who began in 1897 at 440 W. Chicago Ave.

drake 2221 n lincoln.jpg

then in 1929, they moved to  2221 N. Lincoln, (shown above) Drake-Braithwaite Funeral Home where six of the seven T. Valentine Day massacre victims were taken.Then Drake moved to the large Budlong mansion on the NW corner of Foster and Western. Drake, now owned by a conglomerate, is currently at 5300 N Western

drake f

Just in 1908 alone, there were over 350 undertakers in Chicago. If I ever find the time, it would be a great project to research as many of these as possible.

Adams and Blake,-238 E. 2 corner of Archer Ave

Adams Henry- 3734 Archer

Ahigrim, Arthur- 507 Blue Island

Alberti J 940 West 63rd Street

Allen and Teetzel, 1258 Ravens Park

Allen R. A. And Co 284 North

Arntzen B.E. 251 North Clark

Atkinson C. F. 609 West 69th

Bacigalupo C. 394 South Desplaines

Backer Bros – 562 West Madison

Barnes Undertaking CO -293 South Lincoln

Barnes Undertaking Co 96 E. 22nd

Bartlett and CO- 251 North Clark

Bentley and Son- Lincoln Ave, 1273 North Clark, Evanston

Best H, and Brother- 1412 Wrightwood

Bickley C. R. 360 West Fullerton

Bilber Chas. F. Successor Watkins- 5133 Lake Ave

Bilger Chas f. And CO – 2317 State

Birkenkamp J. C. 6339 South Halsted

Birren and Son, 402 East Division

Birren Cornelius, 283 North

Birren P. A. 842 Lincoln Ave

Blake Michael, 708 31st

Bolger Wm and Son, 18 North Western, 879 Sheffield Ave

Borcherdling and Son, 959 31st

Bouchard L.Z. 92 Blue Island Ave

Bouffleur H.P. 1985 West Madison

Bowen T. C. And CO 3913 Cottage Grove

Bowman J. W. 2130 Archer

Boydston Bros. 4227-4229 Cottage Grove

Brachtendorf A. J. 464 Larabee

Brooks J. W 5400 Wentworth

Brooks John J. 6905 South Halsted

Buckett and Hagadone, 4449 State

Buffum and Perrigo, 1722 Wabash

Burmeister Chas, 303 Larrabee

Buscher Fred, 597 Wells

Buss George J. 559 South Ashland

Butzow Julius R. 526-530 Ogden Ave

Byrne Patrick, 828 87th

Camlott C. C. 50 west 19th

Carroll John, 203 North Wells

Cary James, 1852 Milwaukee

Cary John, 568 West 21st

Cermak John and Son 604 Throop

Cervak John, 1149 South Albany

Chalifoux Joseph, 481 West Harrison

Cleveland S. E. 1455 West Madison

Clifford Wm E. 5537 West Wentworth

Cocbran S.H. 1277 West Ravenswood Pk

Coleman Bros. 1211 Milwaukee

Conboy Richard 621 Grand

Cooke and Southon, 982 W. 12th, 337 W. Randolph

Cross Geo. 402 South Western

Crowley John 3718 S. Halsted

Cummings P. J. 4104 State

Cunningham W. A. 524 W. 63rd

Curley Daniel 4523 Wentworth

Curtin W. D. And Co. 148 Wells

Dahlgren C. J. 5820 Wentworth

Dailey James M. 619 West 31st

Dake Stephen 146 East 18th

De Stafano Louis 147 1/2 Grand Ave

Demster Geo W. 6014 Wentworth Ave

Derengrowski Max 330 North Carpenter

Dettler Frank F. 670 West Division

Deubel William 5119 Ashland Ave

Donoghue T. H. 1240 North California

Doty Fred 2458 Kensingston Ave

Drake Charles R. & Son 1148 North Halsted

Drake F. H. 689 West Chicago Ave.

Drayer, Paul 4737 South Paulina

Drygalski Max 452 West Superior

Dunstan Edw 796 West Madison

Dusak Jacob 3007 Union Ave

Eisfeldt William 175 Southport Ave

Ellison S.D. & Co 171 East North Ave

Ewald Jacob 197 East Fullerton Ave

Fakan Joseph 661 May

Fern W. W 628 West 79th

Ferran Jas J & Co 378 North Hamlin

Fiald Bart 4954 South Hermitage

Finerty P. 9256 South Chicago Ave

Firpach M. 715 Allport

Foskett A. 809 West 69th

Frank A. 859 North Halsted

Franta Jan 552 West 19th

Freese John 1587 Milwaukee

Fritsche Casimir 499 Nobel

Furth J.E. 192 35th

Galvin James 380 West Vanburen, 2213 West Harrison

Galvin P.J. 226 North Clark

Gardsielewski Louis 761 West 17th

Ghent S. A. 4254 Cottage Grove

Goetlert Jacob 133 West 23rd

Goldbohn J. 1886 West 12th

Goodale Marlew 556 Sheffield

Gorden M. 740 Halsted

Grabarski Albert 654 Noble

Gratch Samuel 238 Evergreen

Grielsel & Son 8946 Commercial

Grien B. 482 Larrabee

Gurski Joseph 302 West Belmont

Haase Theo 369 West Chicago

Haggard H 153 South Western

Hales Ernest 1810 West 22nd

Haller W. 3523 State, 2346 Dearborn

Hamburg Lewis 3723 Cottage Grove

Hansen Henry 1029 West North Ave

Hardin James 967 West 12th

Hardin Mark 432 West 12th

Hartig Hubert 896,31st

Hartmann W. 601 North Wood

Hartwick John 178 Center

Harty Bros 1615 Ogden

Hasterock Simon 34 Lubeck

Havel John 2617 5th

Havelos John 614 South Centre Ave

Hayes Edward 432 West Belmont

Hayes M. W 166 North Sagamon

Heldorn Wm 991, 31st

Henn Bros 293 South Lincoln

Henriksen Thomas 849 North Kedzie

Hickey Geo 2911 Archer

Hidreth C. 525 South Hermitage

Hinze August 408 West North Ave

Hitseman Frederick 2120 West 26th

Hochspeler F. W. 701 West North Ave

Hodkinson and Brudeneil 1544 West Harrison

Hoppe Undertaking Co 2312 Lincoln Ave

Horan D. 2153 Archer

Horning J. 6323 Wentworth

Hrudicka Peter 1937 West 47th

Hupka Sixtns 93rd North Hermitage

Hursen P.J. 989 West Madison

Hutlin N. H. 1663 North Clark

Iarussi Mike 184 West Taylor

Jackson E. 2959 State

Jaeger Adam 294 West 12th

Jaeger Otto 652 West North

Jana John 514 29th, 1142 South Albany

Jarzembowski Joseph 694 Noble

Jeszka John 664 Noble

Johnson Clifford 2712 State

Johnson Louts F. 5851 Halsted

Jones George 728 West Lake

Jordon C.N. & Co 14-16 Madison, 135 East 53rd, 441 East 63rd, 615 Davis Street

Kampp C & Son 237 North Park Ave, 13 North 48th Ave.

Karnopp W. 1208 Milwaukee Ave.

Kelly & Doran 1930 38th

Kelly G. S. 6851 Wentworth

Kelly Geo L. 5456 State

Kelly Stephen 2933 Archer

Kenny & Co 5438 South Halsted

Kerrigan Thomas P. 5512 Ashland

Ketcham Frank 649 Garfield blvd

Kill Peter 3932 Wentworth

King Frank 3604 State

King John A & Son 9605 Elston

Kircher A. 695 North Halsted

Kisselburg Wm & co 1347 West Madison

Klamer & Fred Jr. 494 North Clark

Klaner A. George 569 North Clark

Kleinman Walter 9237 Commercial

Korthans Gustav 13309 Ontario Ave

Korzeniewski Joseph 318 North Carpenter

Kourim Joseph 690 Augusta

Kovacik Joseph 32 Keith

Kowsczek Joseph 2657 Milwaukee Ave

Krajicek John 1841 West 47th

Krause Chas 389 Elston

Krauspe C. 782 Belmont Ave, 2129 North Ashland

Krebs Louis 227 92nd

Krejei J 2145 West 12th

Kroening August 5137 South Ashland

Kruse & Co 3788 South Halsted

Kruse & Co 4943 Ashland

Kruse C. W. 6437 Ashland

Kruse John 921 West 21st

Kuremerow Carl 970 Armitage

Kututis & Petroshins 58 West 23rd Place

Lain W. H. 420 West 63rd

Lane W. H. 420 West 63rd

Lanyon J. B. 517 West 63rd

Lanyon Lester H. 6408 Wentworth

Larson Andrew 101 North 53rd

Larson Eriek 3428 Princeton

Larson Nils 3248 Princeton

Lietzau Rudolf 743 North Paulina

Lindberg A. T. 274 Grand Ave

Linhart Anton 471 West 19th

Linson 1722 63rd

Liphart Chas 357 East 63rd

Lubejko H. D. 671 East 47th

Ludolph And Mueller 860 & 1941 Milwaukee

Luecht Charles 1128 South California

Lulinski Adam 272 East 83rd

Lundberg Benj 11217 South Michigan

Lynn Brothers 12 Clybourne, 1844 North Clark

Maloney John E. 1479 Milwaukee

Maloney Peter 269 Orleans, 243 Webster, 317 Wells

Marik Hy 961 West 19th

Marsano J.P. 160 West Polk

Marshall James 9069 West Lake

Martens charles 3658 South Lincoln

Maselka Paul 3315 Auburn

Mats Ernst 709 Augusta

McGeeney E. J. 2181 West Madison

McInerney Bros 750 West 43rd

McInerney Thos & Son 5033 State, 4635 Wallace

McLaughlin M. 416 West 12th

McMahon John 428, West 14th, 1595 West 12th

McMahon P.H. 604 Ogden

McMahon T. 165 West 18th

McNally and Duffy 516 Wabash

McNeil Bros 7025 Jackson Park, 291 South State

McRae J. D. 660 West Madison

Mee D.D. 1013 West Irving Park Rd

Mencl Frank 172 West 12th

Mets J. A. 1231 East 75th

Mines and Hunt 366, 55th

Mines Thomas 2963 Archer

Moffett & Arnett Co. 192 Odgen, 1504 West Harrison

Muchna Otta 1329 South Central Park

Muelhoefer Edward 112 Clybourn Ave

Muelhofer Edward and Son 838 Belmont

Mueller and Schah, 342 Roscoe Blvd

Mueller F. 3510 Halsted

Mueller H. W. 576 West Chicago

Mueller Wm 742 West Division

Murphy Mrs J. L. 9325 South Chicago Ave, 110,94th

Murphy P.L. and Son 9353 Commercial

Murphy William P. 1004 East 75th

Mutke A. J. 423 East 26th

Nagel Nicholas J. 5904 Princeton

Nehls Charles F. 1967 West Lake

Neldow Carl, Lincoln Ave and Washington

Nelles J and Sons 1672 West North Ave

Nelles Jacob 596 Milwaukee

Nelson August 1725 North Clark

Nielsen Christ 808 West North Ave

Nierman Simon 78 Johnson

Nosek Joseph 1507 South 40th CT

O’Brien James and Robert 201 Blue Island

O’Brien John 1633 West 12th, 172 Blue Island Ave

O’Donnell C. And CO 428 West 12th

O’Donnell P. C. 6328 Cottage Grove

O’Hauley Bros 6507 Cottage Grove

Okon F. A. 910 West 32nd

Olson A. 284 Orleans, 3025 Wentworth

O’Mara W. S. 526 West Madison

O’Neil Wm 493 Grand

Otto Martin 10928 Michigan

Ovresat Jacob 1686 Milwaukee

Parka J 3155 State

Patka Joseph 1850 West 48th, 3756 Paulina

Pedersen John 878 Armitage

Pelikan M 19 Crittenden

Perrigo A. B. 2975 State, 3913 Cottage Grove

Perrigo C.N. 2973 State, 3913 Cottage Grove

Petroshius J 168 West 18th

Pettkoske John 719 West 17th

Pianjowski S.J. 996 West Whipple

Piarson John 7350 Cottage Grove

Platner J.K. 251 Ogden

Ploss Wm 6902 South Halsted

Pniewski Frank 1019 West 18th

Poklenkowski John 287 West Webster

Postlewait Co 322-24 Ogden, 205 North Park Ave.

Pothe Wm 860 North Halsted

Potter and Kisselburg 1347 West Madison

Purcell J.F. 526 Grand

Purtell Bros 229 West North Ave

Quinlan D. R. 3115 State

Rainey Bros 834 ,35th and 63rd

Rawlins F. A. 4834 State

Redmond N.J. 575 West 12th

Rees Fred 753 North Mozart

Rermbak James 441 North Western

Rhenborg 961 west 22nd

Rohde H. F. 726 West Chicago

Rohn and Grahl 577 South Ashland

Rohr August and CO 794 West North

Rolston N. M. 370-72 Wabash and 5435-5437 Lake

Russ A. B. 452 East 47th

Russ Fred 3525 Vincences

Ryan A. B And John 2449 Cottage Grove

Ryan John T. 490 East 26th

Rytlewski M. 996 South Whipple

Sademann S. 290 West Division

Sadowski P. R. 966 North Hermitage

Sbarbaro A. 185 Wells

Schaffrath Henry 3117 Wall

Scharf George and Son 5006 Ashland

Schatsleta Adam 2418 Lowe

Schmidt Ernst 302 East Belmont

Schmidt L. 1519 Milwaukee

Schmidt Lars 889 West 21st

Schnieder and CO 3825 State

Schoder and Rohan 1504 west 63rd

Schoeder Martin 2129 Archer, 1504 West 63rd

Schroeder Carl 693 West 20th

Schultz Jos and Son 1174 South Albany

Schultz Joseph 159 DeKoven

Schultz S. C. 1127 Armitage

Schwier T. H. 477 East 63rd Res -460 East 63rd

Schwuchow T 1403 Diversey, 1786 North Ashland

Scott George W. 952 West Madison, Res-1028 West Jackson

Segersten G. Anderson 1615 North Clark

Sheldon H. D. 239 West Madison

Shute Edward 137 1/2 East Chicago Ave

Sloan Robert K. 2823 Archer

Smith P. 634 40th Ave

Smith Robert 1410 Belmont

Snyder J 3825 State

Spreyne F.G.and Sons 4026 State, 6715 South Halsted

Stephankus Louis 1127 South Leavitt

Stolke J 749 North Wood

Sullivan Edward 413 North Ave

Theoreil F. J. 41, 48th

Thompson Bros. 122 North Centre, 512 North California

Thursion A. W. 367, 55th

Trandel and Binger 128 West Blackhawk

Trandel Barney 4736 Paulina

Union and Co-Operative and Protective Association 510 West Madison

Union Burial Ass’n 569 Wabash

Urban Bros 393 West 18th

Urbanek V. M. 1397 Central Park Ave

Vail w. C. 1277 East 75th

Van Doser A. 6136 Wentworth

Wagner Charles 652 West 21st

Walkowiak W. 8749 Commercial

Wallmann Jos 286 West Division

Weber A.J. 3020 Cottage Grove

Weber and Boyman 3020 Cottage Grove

Weinstein J. 329 Blue Island

Welmeschkirch Peter 4861 North Clark

Westfall D. And Co. 125 Southport Ave

Westfall Fred 757 Lincoln Ave

Winkler Wm 1279 Clybourne

Wold and Wold 177 Grand Ave. 862 west North Ave

Wolf Mrs. Jacob 710 West 12th

Woodward G. H. And Co. 11401 Michigan

Woodward G.H. and Nangle 802 West 120th

Wright K. M. And CO 1117 West Harrison

Wyand Mrs John 924 West 23rd

Young and Son 127 West 18th

Young Peter 6011 South Halsted

Yuers William 1280 Ogden

Zajicek B. 1082 South Kedvale

Zajicek John 440 West 12th

Zimmer F. 2924 Wentworth

Zuber Michael H. 464 Larabee


7 thoughts on “Chicago area Undertakers”

  1. There was a funeral parlor just south of the 111th Street Rock Island Suburban line station in Morgan Park, Illinois before it was annexed to Chicago. There were funeral trains to that station which then proceeded west on 111th Street to the cemeteries west of Western Avenue or south to 115th Street between Western and Kedzie. The building is a two story brick which was used as a Chicago Mental Health clinic for several years, then sold and developed as condos in the 1990s. I can’t recall the name which I heard once or twice from older family members. Its long side is on the west side of Hale Avenue and the original main entrance was on the south side of 111th Street. The old bank building presently houses the Beverly Area Planning Association.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is not a reply but a question. My family owns 3 graves in Rosehill Cemetery and 4 graves in Ridgewood Cemetery. I have moved to Virginia and inherited them upon my Mom’s passing. We have no plans to use them and I would love to sell them. Can anyone suggest a way to sell them other than advertising in the Tribune which is pretty expensive. Are there any Facebook groups where I could post them for sale? I’ve searched but haven’ found a FB page yet for that purpose. Thank you for reading this—-I really need to sell them.


  3. It’s not a lot but I found this if you want it (if you don’t already have it):

    P.A. Birren & Son Funeral Homes, as it later came to be known, was founded in 1869 by Henry Birren. The original location, on Clark Street near Ontario Street, was destroyed in the Great Fire. Henry Birren later opened funeral homes at several locations in Chicago. His son, Peter A. Birren, joined the family business; ca. 1884, he opened a location at 2927 North Lincoln Avenue. Other locations included 1356 West Wellington Street and 6125 North Clark Street.

    From the description of P.A. Birren & Son Funeral Homes records, 1868-1943. (Chicago History Museum). WorldCat record id: 711874979


      1. You’re welcome. I discovered that Chicago History Museum ( holds the old records for P.A. Birren & Son but discovered they don’t have all of them, such as a 16-year gap in the funeral records from 1898 to 1914. I need to locate a funeral they handled in 1910. There are, however, many other files, including livery orders, which may help me since my guy was transported to Galena for burial. You can see their holdings here:


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