MARC EERNISSE CHATTED with guests (above) as they toured the new Eernisse Funeral Home in the Town of Cedarburg during an open house Saturday. Above, American Legion post members from Cedarburg and Grafton led the flag pole dedication at the facility. At right, U.S. Navy Petty Officer Jane Eernisse hoisted the colors, as her grandmother Georgia and great uncle Robert, both World War II veterans, looked on.
Photos by Sam Arendt
Civil War era farmhouse retained for lobby of Town of Cedarburg facility
The building may be new, but the heart of the Eernisse Funeral Home just south of Five Corners in the Town of Cedarburg dates to before the Civil War.
Portions of a fieldstone farmhouse erected by Michael Sullivan in 1852 were incorporated into the design of the new funeral home. The property was acquired by its original owner in a federal land grant dating to 1840.
â€śWe retained the original fieldstone section of the farmhouse for the lobby, but demolished the more recent additions,â€ť said Marc Eernisse, president of the family-run funeral home.
Murals of landmark buildings in Cedarburg and the surrounding area are used throughout the building, adding tothe historic ambiance of the farmhouse-turned-funeral home.
The Cedarburg site now gives the business three Ozaukee County locations, including a 10,000-square-foot facility in Port Washington and an 8,600-square-foot building Belgium.
On the new site, the vintage farmhouse was surrounded by 8,000 square feet of building space, supplemented by parking for 90 vehicles.
â€śEverything went as planned. There were no real surprises, other than what you might expect when you have to punch a hole through two-foot thick stone walls,â€ť Eernisse said.
Ground-breaking was in May.
â€śWe finished on schedule, maybe a week late because of weather delays,â€ť Eernisse said.
The new facility includes a crematory that will be used by all three of its funeral homes.
Another feature of the new building is a large community room, capable of seating 100 people.
â€śThe room allows us to offer a meal on site, rather than the family having to gather at a restaurant,â€ť Eernisse said.
The project was dedicated during an open house on Saturday that took on a markedly patriotic tone.
The American Legion posts in Cedarburg and Grafton led a dedication of the homeâ€™s flag pole.
Drawing prominent attention during the service were Eernisseâ€™s mother Georgia and uncle Robert, both who served in World War II.
His daughter Jane, a U.S. Navy petty officer, attended in dress uniform.
The flag was provided by Eernisseâ€™s sister Sue, a nurse at the Veterans Administration hospital in Sheridan, Wyo., who could not attend the ceremony. The flag flew over the U.S. Capitol.
That family touch reflects the management of the business, too, with Eernisseâ€™s son Joe serving as company vice president and his daughter Jill Eernisse Kissinger the secretary/treasurer.