The village of Homewood is proceeding with plans for the Homewood Science Center.
Planning for the science center project began in earnest at the end of 2014 when the village purchased the former Ryan Funeral Home at 18022 Dixie Highway to serve as home for the future center.
Although the science center will be a new and exciting venture, the building in which it will be located has been a fixture in the village for more than a century.
Fred H. Gold purchased this property from his father, Jacob, in 1904 and built a home for his family.
Gold, a successful businessman, was very active in Homewood affairs, serving as a school board member, fire chief from 1902 to 1915 and village president from 1915 to 1923.
The Gold family home was the first residence in Homewood to have running water supplied to it by the village waterworks when it was completed in 1911.
Gold’s second wife, Eliza, was also an active member of the community and she and Fred allowed the Homewood Women’s Club to use a room in their home as a place to store and exchange books before the first public library was established in 1924.
After Gold’s death, Fred Cordt, an undertaker who had been in business in Homewood since 1926, bought the property in 1945 and renovated the first floor of the building into a funeral parlor.
He and his family lived upstairs. A 2,400 square-foot addition to the building was completed in 1958. Cordt retired in 1963 and sold the business to John Ryan, who continued operating the funeral parlor as the Cordt-Ryan Colonial Funeral Home.
After Ryan’s death in 1980, his family assumed operations of the funeral home. His son, Michael, took over as sole proprietor in 1996.
After the Ryan and Tews funeral homes were merged, services were consolidated into the former Tews Funeral Home building located at 18230 Dixie Highway, and the village subsequently acquired the property.
A family home, a funeral parlor and now a science center, the building at 18022 Dixie Highway has had an interesting history and will continue to be a prominent Homewood landmark for years to come.
Jim Wright is an official with the Homewood Historical Society and is the author of a book of local history, “Homewood Through the Years.”
This story appeared in the June 16, 2016, print edition of the Chronicle.