Moulton & Kyle Funeral Home | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

The story of Downtown’s Moulton & Kyle Funeral Home dates back to 1851, when Calvin Oak was told that his case of tuberculosis would kill him within six months. Instead of being mentally defeated by his diagnosis, Oak relocated from Vermont to Jacksonville for a new start at life.

In an environment characterized by fresh air and sunshine, Oak lived another 30 years and quickly became one of city’s most prominent citizens and businessmen. Oak became a manufacturer of guns, barrels and cartridges. His gun plant was hailed as Jacksonville’s first factory. He also acquired and operated a jewelry store on Bay Street.

In 1856, Oak went into the marble and mortuary business with his son, Byron. After Oak’s death, this business eventually grew into the Moulton & Kyle Funeral Home. In need of a new modern facility, architecture firm Mark & Shetfall were commissioned to design a new two-story, Prairie School style building on Union Street, just west of Main Street and construction was completed in 1914. In need of parking, a garage was built 12 years later that featured a roundtable, which enabled cars to drive into the building and then turn around to head back out to the street.

As time passed, the funeral home became the Kyle McLellan Funeral Home, reflecting the name of a new owner, S.M. McLellan. In the early 1990s, the business was purchased by the owners of Peeples Family Funeral Home in Riverview. Closing in on a century of continuous operation at the Union Street site, the Peeples family relocated the business to a five acre site near River City Marketplace in 2013.

A look inside the building today reveals how deadly our natural climate can be to abandoned man-made structures. Today, the Moulton & Kyle Funeral Home no longer preps the bodies our lost loved ones for their last viewing. Instead, abandoned and at the mercy of Florida’s unforgiving climate, the Moulton & Kyle Funeral Home is in the midst of a metamorphosis back into a natural state.

Text by Ennis Davis, MetroJacksonville.com







19 Comments

  1. The hearse is gone? Sad to see it in this condition. Sam McLellan was a friend of my parents. I have been inside many times when it was open. My cousin also worked there while attending Jr. College. He picked up bodies for one of his duties.

  2. What a terrible shame!! This building was such a jewel. I am sorry the present owners neglected it. I hope they at least removed the antique furniture, some of which dated back to the great fire….However, while not made clear in these pictures, such doesn’t look likely. A note about the history posted regarding Kyle-McLellan. Mr. Samuel Allen Kyle worked for Mr. Moulton and became a junior partner. Later, the business was known, for many years, simply as S. A. Kyle. In the late 1950’s Mr. S. M. McLellan became a junior partner and continued as junior partner until Mr. Kyle’s death in 1969. This building was the first building built, specifically, to be a funeral home in Florida. With all the time I spent there as a child, and later as a teen and an adult it breaks my heart to see this. Again, the neglect and deterioration is shameful.

    • Wow, thank you for that! It’s hard finding the history on some places and I’m glad others can chime in to help out.

    • Calvin Oaks was the younger brother of my ancestor. I wonder if he left any treasures in the building from his time.

    • Kyle, my heart was already breaking at the sight of this dear beautiful place, its’ history, and contents, and when I saw the many photographs, I really felt sad. Yet words cannot express what you must feel seeing this, after having know the place and its’ people for so many years. Somehow the items left behind need to be preserved…especially the photographs. Not to mention the caskets, antique furniture, and other items. Just the lovely chandeliers alone, with the heavy glass prisms should be saved and cherished. Anyway, my heart goes out to you.

  3. Is this still accessible? for photography purposes.

  4. I almost went to work there in 1975,but couldn’t live on the $80 a week salary.I venture the place was abandoned and furnishings left because of the asbestos tiles in the ceilings.The structure looks good except for the damage to the front. No doubt a big project but if I hit the Powerball this week,hmm.

  5. The world is amazing, isn’t it? So many people who were brought here to be returned to the earth. And now the building itself slowly returns. The other thought is of all the tears shed there. The families who said their last good byes here. Thank you for allowing me the honor of seeing it before it’s gone.

  6. I found a video of this funeral parlor on YouTube and from their was able to look it up on the web. I love the old parlors that are tastefully repurposed large Victorian homes. This is the first one I’ve seen that as the article says was built to be a funeral parlor. Being a collector of odd things I wouldn’t make it in their a min without trying to pack it all home. And the brick work on the building took some real craftsmanship. Sadder still is all the caskets just setting there going to waste when so many people can’t afford one for a proper burial. I truly hope someone steps up and saves as much of this as possible.

  7. Stan Darsh III

    When I saw the video posted on YT, I assumed it was abandoned because of bankruptcy or business failure. The above text states that the funeral home was simply “relocated?”

    Where is the accountability?

    So, it’s just okay to walk away and leave a big mess and liability behind? The video showed old documents, business records, photos, not to mention old property and live electric service (who in the hell is paying for that?) with water dripping near the breaker box. How are things like this allowed to happen? If somebody goes in there exploring, and gets electrocuted, maimed, killed by a homeless person, etc., then who do they sure?

    I’m tired of seeing businesses in this country just shit their pants, then leave them behind for someone else to clean up. It’s despicable.

    • Just watched the YouTube video- I was so upset to see all the amazing old photographs and records dating back to the 1800’s left. I am a major history buff (and operate a non-profit historical tour in MA). Pieces of history like that are priceless, and they are just sitting there rotting away, inches from being destroyed by water damage forever. I would LOVE to be able to preserve them. Does anyone know who currently owns the building? There has to be an owner. Or, is anyone in the area planning on going there? If anyone could get the record book for me, or knows who I could get in contact with to be possibly granted permission so I could preserve it, please let me know. This breaks my heart!

      Also, there are urns filled with ashes still there?! Unbelievable. :(

      • OMG, Laura! I agree! My heart was already breaking at the sight of the beautiful place, its’ history, and contents, yet when I saw the many photographs, I really felt sad. These things need to be preserved. Not to mention the caskets, antique furniture, and other items. Just the chandeliers alone, with the heavy glass prisms should be saved and cherished.

  8. I don’t know what it is but theirs something about an old funeral home that peaks my interest. I love the furniture and the light fixtures, most always have an old clock somewhere in or on the building. This one in Florida has that arched ceiling with those school house light globes hanging. As I said in my last post I’ve never been in an old building that was built to be a funeral home. I gues for me the only way to except death is to be some part of it. I’m not sure about the embalming part but everything else I would love to be part of.

  9. Weichert realty was the agency that sold the place they may be able to help or duvalcounty clerk of courts

    • Charles E. Caldwell

      Depending on the condition, and some looks salvageable, I would be interested in purchasing some or all of the funeral memorabilia, caskets, etc,
      Chuck

      • Charles E. Caldwell

        Allow me to explain. I’ve heard about this funeral home and went to college with some people who worked there. I would be interested in restoring some of the furniture, fixtures and caskets. I am a twety-five plus year funeral director and seriously have much interest.

  10. The arrangements for my Grandfather’s funeral were taken care of by Moulton & Kyle in April of 1917. It is a shame to see the building in disrepair, but I understand how business requirements can cause a company to need more space and therefore relocate.
    I have been trying to locate the records for my Grandfather’s funeral. But, the present owners have told me the records have been lost. Another shame! I wonder if there may be some boxes of papers among that stuff in these pictures?
    If anyone could help me locate those lost records I would be grateful.
    Jerry

    • Hi! Can you please give me the contact info or name for the current owners? I would much appreciate it. I believe I have a legitimate reason to contact them.

      Thanks so much.

      • The Funeral home is now called Peeple’s Family Funeral Homes,904-308-7300 or 904-353-3966. I believe the home office is at 2220 Soutel Dr. Jacksonville.
        Good Luck,
        Jerry