The building at 508 Champagnolle Road has been a long-time landmark in El Dorado. Although it has undergone extensive remodeling through the years, some of the building’s original features have been kept.
What is today Young’s Funeral Directors was built by Emon O. Mahony, who served as Union County judge from 1898 to 1903, when he was appointed to serve as the first chancery judge for the Seventh Chancery Circuit. He served as chancery judge until 1909. Mr. Mahony was married to Pattie Wright, whose father, Col. John C. Wright, originally owned the land where the home was built. Both Mr. and Mrs. Mahony were lawyers.
The three-story structure with a partial basement originally was built as a home, but later was converted to one of El Dorado’s first hospitals and then a funeral home. Construction on the house began in 1898 and was completed in 1900. Most of the lumber for the house was brought down the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The house originally cost $5000.
At the time it was built, the house was an example of turn-of-the-century Craftsman-style architecture with overhang porches. It is now considered Colonial style. The house first was built with six fireplaces that were constructed at angles to each other and shared the same chimney. Three of the fireplaces are still in the funeral home, as are the original staircase and curly pine woodwork.
In 1914 Dr. L.L. Purifoy founded what was either El Dorado’s first or second hospital in the house. Dr. Purifoy operated St. Mary’s Hospital until the early 1930s. His name is still on a step at the end of the sidewalk just off of Champagnolle. There was a nurses’ quarters behind the hospital and Dr. Purifoy lived in a separate house, which is still located behind the funeral home facing Madison Avenue. There also was a fish pond to the left of the house, which Mr. Young had covered because it was constantly being littered and was dangerous for children in the area.
In 1932 the house became Hall-McWilliams Funeral Home, which later became Hall-Chadwell and then Hall Funeral Home. Mr. Young bought the business in 1960 and remodeled the building three years later.
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