After being diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1851, Calvin Oak was told he would be dead within six months. Oak decided to move his family from Vermont to Jacksonville, Florida in hopes that a warmer, sunny environment would cure his ailment. Surrounded by fresh air, Calvin Oak lived another 30 years and became one of Jacksonville’s most prominent businessmen. He built the first factory in the city, a gun plant that manufactured guns, barrels, and cartridges. Oak also purchased and operated a jewelry store on Bay Street. In 1856, Calvin Oak and his son, Byron, opened a marble and mortuary business. After his father passed away, Byron continued growing the company as the Moulton & Kyle Funeral Home.
In 1914, Mark & Shetfall, a local architecture firm, was hired to design a two-story Prairie School style building at 17 West Union Street in downtown Jacksonville. Due to high demand for parking, an attached garage was built twelve years later that featured a turntable which allowed cars to drive into the building and turn around facing the street. The funeral home became known as the Kyle-McLellan Funeral Home after S.M. McLellan purchased the business. In the early 1990s, the Peeples Family Funeral Home purchased the property. After almost a century of operating at the West Union Street building, the business was moved in 2013 and the building at West Union Street was left abandoned. Today, the building has a partially collapsed roof and stands at the mercy of the harsh Florida weather.
On Saturday night, January 9, 2021, authorities were called to the abandoned Moulton & Kyle Funeral Home for a three-alarm fire. It took more than 100 firefighters an hour to get it under control. When they arrived, flames forced them back out of the building as the roof and second floor collapsed. The smoke plumes were so thick they showed up on local weather radar. The surrounding area near the old funeral home will be closed for several days due to the fire. According to JSO, the City of Jacksonville obtained an emergency order and is tearing down the building on Monday, January, 11, 2021.
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