Iconic funeral home overlooking Franklin since the mid-1800s is slated for demolition

A stately old funeral home that has overlooked downtown Franklin since the mid-1800s is slated for demolition in the next several weeks.

The old house was where Robert Eaton moved his funeral home business after acquiring the former Croll Funeral Home in 1940, according to the local history book, “Franklin in the Great Miami Valley.” In 1980, the present owner, Charles Anderson, became an affiliate of the Eaton Funeral Home and the name was changed to the Eaton-Anderson Funeral Home in 1982.

Over the years, the loved ones of many Franklin area families were served at that funeral home. Anderson owns funeral homes in Franklin, Springboro and Middletown.

Anderson said the house stopped being a funeral home about 15 to 20 years ago and was used as a training facility and leased as office space. He said he put the house on the market about two years ago but received no takers. He also didn’t receive any bids for the house when it placed on the auction block.

The house, which was built in 1843, has just more than 6,000 square feet of living space and a value is $370,000, according to the Warren County Auditor’s website.

Anderson said he never envisioned being unable to rent the space out.

“Nobody wanted it,” he said. “No one wants a house with 16-foot ceilings, and you would have to put a lot of money into it.”

He said the costs of gas, electric and maintenance as well as deteriorating windows forced him to make the decision to demolish the building.

“It was good to me for 38 years, but I don’t want to watch it deteriorate,” Anderson said. “It’s the only good solution. I love that building. That’s where I got my start.”

Anderson said the goal of the demolition will be to reorient the property to build a new building for a company that wants visibility.

“We need something new and something that won’t need a lot of maintenance,” he said. “We want to create a nice piece of property there.

He said the demolition will be of the main house only and that an adjacent house and multi-bay garage will not be torn down. Anderson said the adjacent house is in good shape and he’s planning on putting a new roof on it.

At a recent Franklin City Council meeting, Councilman Denny Centers commented about the upcoming demolition and said,”it’s a real shame. It’s such an icon in Franklin but I understand.”

About the Author