Our current home, at 511 S. Franklin Street, has a history as rich as the Greenville community. The original building, built in the 19th century, still stands proud and is one of Greenville's more notable landmarks.
A brief history of the property and its’ owners follows:
THE HORTON FAMILY
The home was originally built in 1868 for Mr. Daniel D. Horton, a prominent Greenville businessman who came to Oakfield Township (Kent County) at the age of fourteen with his parents. In 1863, he married the former Sarah Light and they lived at the old Horton homestead until moving to their new home in 1868. (Historical sidenote: While the old Horton home is no longer be standing, Horton Cemetery exists at the corner of Highway M-57 and Lappley Road...we presume the original homestead was at or near that location.) Upon coming to the city, he engaged in the hardware business and over the years was partnered with Myron Ride and Eugene Rutan. During the later years of his life, he was engaged in the coal business, making a reputation for himself for promptness, courtesy, and a square deal. In 1875 Mr. Horton had the house added onto (which now consists of the office and storage area’s on the first floor, and bedrooms on the second). Mr. Horton died at home (602 S. Franklin -- across the street from the current funeral home) on June 23, 1911 and was buried by R.A. Brown at Forest Home Cemetery.
THE ANDERSON FAMILY
In 1887, Henry N. Anderson purchased the home. An undated article states that, “...Henry N. Anderson, of the firm of Anderson & Foster, is one of the financial pillars of Greenville, Montcalm County. As one of the most prominent business men of the place and one of its soundest capitalists, he has influence, and the public spirit that he manifests whenever the welfare of the city is at stake makes his position among the citizens still more important than it would otherwise be.” Mr. Anderson was engaged primarily in the lumber business, buying up great quantities of pine forest and clearing the land. In Kent county he built one of the largest steam powered sawmills in the state, as well as operated extensive operations in Newaygo county. In 1887 he bought the Greenville Gas Works (which supplied the entire city); in 1890 he established a packing company, as well as constructing a downtown building at 218 and 220 S. Lafayette (formerly Alma’s Ready to Wear -- currently Mancino’s Pizza and Melton-McFadden Insurance Agency); in 1893 he built another downtown building at 224 S. Lafayette street (currently Anne’s Pet Shoppe), in addition to owning a large farm in Kent county and a “fine herd of blooded cattle”, also “a good city property on Franklin street” . He also was vice-president of the City National Bank.
THE RICH FAMILY
By 1908, Charles H. Rich had become the owner of the home. Mr. Rich was engaged in the general produce business and was born in 1863. According to another undated article, his firm, Charles H. Rich & Company, made “a specialty of potatoes, onions, apples, etc. and shipped five hundred car loads (railroad freight cars) of these products last year... they control two warehouses, with a capacity of fifteen hundred bushels each, one located at Greenville and the other at McBrides.” In 1890, Mr. Rich also built a downtown building at 124 S. Lafayette street (formerly Christiansen’s Reliable Hardware, currently housing the Greenville Office Store, Chrisdena’s Hair Salon, and the law offices of G.R. Pete Frye). Historical Sidenote: The sign from the front of Christiansen’s Reliable Hardware now adorns our garage on the west side of the property. Our special thanks to Mr. Harold Christiansen, former owner of the hardware store. Sadly, Mr. Rich died at the age of 51 in October of 1918.
THE BEARDSLEE FAMILY
The year 1923 saw Don Beardslee occupying the home and by 1926 the home was vacant. -- MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MR. BEARDSLEE TO COME.
THE BROWN FAMILY
Raymond A. Brown established the Brown Funeral Home at 511 S. Franklin street in 1927, after moving from his downtown storefront location. At sometime in the mid to late 1930’s, Mr. Brown added a casket selection room on the northwest corner of the 1st floor...
THE TEMAN FAMILY
THE CHRISTIANSEN FAMILY