Pelzer Funeral Home: The Pelzer Funeral Home — A Hearse for the Whole Family

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Clyde Pelzer opened up his family-run funeral home in 1936 at 5th and Christian. Clyde came to Philadelphia from South Carolina looking for work. He apprenticed at a relative’s funeral business in West Philadelphia for several years before opening up his own funeral home in South Philadelphia. At the time, Pelzer ran the only black-owned funeral home in that area, filling a vital niche in the social structure of the neighborhood.

In 1970, Pelzer moved the business two blocks to its present-day location at 3rd and Christian Street. The building was originally built as a synagogue, which is reflected in unique architectural features such as a skewed ceiling pointing to the East, a mostly-covered stained glass Star of David, and a dusty wine cellar.

When Clyde Pelzer passed away in 1987, two of his nine children took over the business. Claude Pelzer, one of Clyde’s sons, now runs the funeral home along with his wife, Laura, and sister, Lydia Kirkland. Claude says the business is less of a local institution than it used to be, due to the increased amount of young and transient residents in the neighborhood. Now Pelzer Funeral Home regularly serves people from all over the tri-state area. Indeed, the Pelzers live in New Jersey, commuting to work and relying on the telephone—rather than the doorbell—to schedule funeral services.




3rd & Christian Sts (845 South 3rd)

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South Philadelphia

Shot Tower Conveyed Site of the Southwark Soup Society Weccacoe Engine Co.'s House, and Reception of United Fire Co. of Baltimore Court having nine small houses in rear of a tenement house Mario Lanza Park banner Pelzer Funeral Home Southwark/Queen Village Community Garden Phillips Temple Christian Methodist Church St. Stanislaus Catholic Church Housefronts on 600 Block of Kater Street Bedford Street Mission The Antiquarian's Delight Marmelstein's front window on Fabric Row Casa Ravello Milk Station House of Industry historical marker Graphic Sketch Club Julia and Aldo Allegrini wedding L'Opinione: Il Departmento Circolazione Vietnamese Hung Vuong Association Curtis Publishing Plant/Lofts at Bella Vista Isgro Pastries storefront St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church Verdi Hall Lady of Good Council R.C. Church, Christian above 8th Sts. Interior of Luigi Fiorella Meat Market Italian & American Maccaroni Works Dan Khang Nha Trang sign Anthony's Chocolate House exterior D'Angelo's Specialty Meats storefront Playbill for the "The Passion Play of Christ"  presented by the Filodramatic Circle Gasperinese, 1931 The Procession of St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi mural Fante-Leone Public Pool Cannuli Brothers storefront Talluto's Authentic Italian Food storefront Grassia's Italian Market Spice Company Lupita's Grocery Store storefront Paul Giordano Sr. Saigon Maxim restaurant Jefferson Square Mia (left) and Mary (right) Viola St. Maron's Church exterior Bitar's Eastern Mediterranean Grill Southeast Corner - 9th Street and Washington Avenue Washington Avenue Immigration Station
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