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History of former Polley funeral site could be lost

City continues discussion of building’s removal

Richmond Mayor Mike Wright points out an old window at the front of the old Polley Funeral Home, now covered by a porch. The window has the more ornate molding of years ago and old rippled glass. (Photo by JoEllen Black/Richmond News)

By Hanna Sumpter, Staff Writer

A stale smell in the air floats throughout the building of what used to be Polley Funeral Home. The ceilings have fallen, and insulation spills out from above. Holes in the floor have been left behind from the ventilation system that has been removed. Papers also scatter the floor in many of the empty rooms.

The dilapidated state of the building covers up what is left of the building’s antique beauty. Maps dating back to 1883 show a sketch of the building similar to its current but hidden structure within. Colorful wallpaper still lines some of the walls, intricate moldings cover the archways, and a detailed wooden banister follows the staircase visible just inside the entryway.

It is unclear how old the current building is, but some evidence shows potential for parts of the building to be more than a century old.

Mayor Mike Wright said the building appears to have had several alterations over the years.

What appears to be antique mortuary coolers are built into the basement; an old-fashioned white sink is still attached to the wall in the embalming room on the main level; and arched windows, possibly with original glass, are in the upstairs area that has since been converted into an apartment space.

The building has been vacant since August 2015, when Christopher E. Powers purchased the property. Powers donated it as a tax write-off to the City of Richmond in December 2016.

After gaining ownership, the Richmond City Council has been discussing plans of demolishing the building. Wright said the council will move forward with the building’s removal after the end of the budget year Sept. 30.

The complete story is in the Friday, June 16, 2017 Richmond News.

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