113 years of Quality Service
by Gordon C. Tappan, LFD
One hundred thirteen years ago, in the days of store-front undertaking parlors, (as they were once called), Arthur Hill was located on Canal Street, now know as State Street, Phoenix, New York. Furniture and undertaking combinations were very common then.
Edward W. Allanson, born Feb. 3, 1879, to his late parents, William A. and Ella Mae (Sidney) Allanson. Ed had married, and then, following in his father’s footstepts, studied, graduated mortuary school, 1899, Albany. He then went to work for a firm in the area for a firm, Tibbitts Funeral Parlor. After several years, widowed Ed, came to Phoenix, and took a second wife Neva Archambo, they had one son, William E., went to work for Arthur Hill, Mortician, in 1914 located on the Oswego River side of Canal Street.
The operation was furniture and undertaking. The downtown building offered furniture on one side and the funeral parlor on the other side. The items for sale where tables, chairs and other household furniture choices. The parlor side had an area for the decedent to repose in the casket. The backdrop consisted of large hinged wooden panels surrounding the room. Behind the panels each available casket offered, was actually adhered to the reverse side, so the undertaker could show one casket at a time by flipping over the hinged wooden panels. Very inventive method, neat and tidy too. The caskets were orded from manufacturers and received in basic form. The staff would assemble the wooden units, and complete the interiors right on the premiss.
In September of 1916, the Phoenix Fire destroyed all of the business section of the village. The building was leveled and had over $ 50,000 in total furniture inventory lost. The second floor housed most of the goods.
Edward joined Mr. Hill as a partner in September of 1918. *Photo depicts Hill on left woman and infant unknown, Ed is on the right hand side. There were a few other undertakers of that time, Fred Hakes and Henry Schultz. The Hill building was rebuilt and stands today where Larkins Restaurant is currently located on State Street. During those years more people waked their dead in their own homes. Embalming was done in their homes as well, prior to the visitation and funeral. Eventually, the trend gravitated to one location, thus replacing the desire to use the person’s home. Ed’s Mother, Ella died in April 26, 1933 at the age 77. Moving his operation to 39 Bridge Street, in the same year, Summer. The duplex building was just two doors down from the First Congregational
Church, due east on Bridge Street. Ed and his wife lived on the left side, and the funeral home on the right side. He offered a livery service car for not only for funerals, but for emergency medical transportation to many area hospitals. Many small communities utilized this same concept.
Ed’s son, William D., ( born in 1900), joined his dad, studied, earned his mortician’s license and worked for his dad, (dates unkown). Bill and his wife, Doris Mandel, had two daughters, the now late, Neva Bibko, 2002, and Jean Struab who resides in the area. Bill had an untimely death in 1950. The aging partiarch, Ed, would find a partner to carry on.
The partner, would eventually be a man, named Joseph Talcott Glanville. Joe was born in Skaneateles, NY in 1903. He was a graduate of Manlius Military School. Joe had earned his mortician’s license and traveled to work in NYC for the large firm, Walter B. Cooke, for many years. He met his spouse, a medical secretary, named Marjorie Hitch, born in Laurel, Delaware. They married moved to Syracuse, had one daughter, Mary Anne. Joe worked for Fairchild and Meech Funeral Home in Syracuse. He then purchased the Fanchier Funeral Home in the small hamlet of Jacksonville, located in Onondaga County. Joseph moved the business a short distance to Lysander Hamlet on the Plainville Rd.
Ed and Joe formed a partnership on May 1, 1950, named Allanson- Glanville Funeral Homes, Inc. Operating both establishments, Phoenix and Lysander.
Gordon C. Tappan married Mary Anne Glanville on June 6, 1952. They had three children between 1953 and 1961, Douglas, Saralyn, Charles. Gordon decided to go to mortuary school and completed his studies and earned his funeral directors license on June 17, 1955. After a few years, Gordon began purchasing the business. In 1960 a third location was added in Hannibal, NY, operating until 1970. In 1962 Gordon purchased the entire corporation and added his surname at the end. The Phoenix location was moved to the present location in January of 1963, which was purchased from the Irving E. Wood estate. Ed died in 1970 and Joe died in 1972. Gordon needed three licensed manager for each location by law, including his own license. The Hannibal location closed, followed by the Lysander location. The Phoenix location remained. Son Charles, though not licensed, has assisted Gordon in some capacity through out the years, building or painting the structure, and maintainence.
Years pass and son of Gordon and Mary Anne, Douglas decides to go to school in 1988, then 36 years of age, to complete his studies in mortuary science. He does so, and in 1992, was licensed and joined his father in the family business. He married Lisa Donadio in 1990, they have one son, Geoff, and one daughter, Elissa.
The Tappans are proud that they have been able to continue the same business offering their services in time of need to many loyal families in the area. Providing the best possible service to those surviving family members. Maintaining the value structure in funeralization as people have been, and continue to demand. It is our hope, we shall continue into the future.