Lost Memphis: Emma Wilburn Funeral Home

One of the few funeral homes in Memphis run by a woman.



City directories show that Emma Wilburn opened her funeral home in a former residence on Mississippi Boulevard in 1920.

Not only did she work at this address, she lived there, too — which makes her a braver person than most people, considering all the other folks “sleeping” there. The back of the old postcard promotes her services as an undertaker, embalmer, and complete dresser, and it also notes that Wilburn provided “the very best ambulance service, day or night.”

That claim may surprise modern readers, who might not think to call a funeral home if they needed an ambulance. (It’s not really in the company’s best interest, you’d think, to get you to a hospital in time.)

Wilburn closed her firm sometime in the 1930s, and the grand old building housed other undertakers, including Thomas Funeral Home and Southern Funeral Home. A church acquired the property in the 1950s and turned it into a parking lot.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

Rare Photo: Gladys Presley's Original Gravesite at Forest Hill Cemetery — Mother of Elvis Presley

2012.11.18 08:47 PM

Helen of Memphis Began Life as the Woman’s Art Building

As depicted in “The Art Work of Memphis” (1926), the Woman’s Art Building later housed the well-known boutique, Helen of Memphis.
2015.05.20 03:05 PM

Years Ago, Concrete Contractors Set Their Names in Stone ... Well, Cement.

Look closely as you walk along old sidewalks, and you can often find the names of the companies who poured them pressed into the cement.
2015.05.24 04:27 PM
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Stories

The Strange Obsession of Memphis Artist Miriam Haas

A Memphis artist named Miriam Haas embarked on a campaign to paint oil portraits of seemingly every dog she encountered. After her death, her home was filled with hundreds of these little paintings. Why did she do it?
2015.05.26 10:37 PM

Years Ago, Concrete Contractors Set Their Names in Stone ... Well, Cement.

Look closely as you walk along old sidewalks, and you can often find the names of the companies who poured them pressed into the cement.
2015.05.24 04:27 PM

Helen of Memphis Began Life as the Woman’s Art Building

As depicted in “The Art Work of Memphis” (1926), the Woman’s Art Building later housed the well-known boutique, Helen of Memphis.
2015.05.20 03:05 PM

Add your comment:
Edit Module

Buy the Ask Vance Books

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Famed Memphis trivia expert Vance Lauderdale answers reader questions weekly here on his blog!

About This Blog

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

Got a question for Vance?  Email him here.

Find Vance's old blog posts (pre-April 2011) and comments here.

Be Vance's friend on Facebook:  facebook.com/vancelauderdale

Recent Posts

Archives

Feed

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Ask Vance Feed »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags