Saturday, October 29, 2011

Funeral Hearse Benefits Haunted House

In 1905, a funeral hearse was built in Vienna, Austria as a carriage for the funeral ceremonies of wealthy and well–respected locals. In 1970, an antiques dealer from the Salt Lake area of Utah brought the hearse to Park City. He displayed it in his antique shop, and then put it aside. It sat neglected in a junkyard for thirty years, until it was discovered by a Park City resident. This was Bill Brown, at the time the president of the Glenwood Cemetery Association, who bought all the parts and started the process of renovating it. After a year and a half, the hearse was as good as new. He began to take part in parades around the country, and enter it in antique competitions. When he moved to Port Townsend last year, Brown brought the Hearse with him.

Like a darker version of the horse-drawn cart from Cinderella, the hearse is black and ornate with black roses carved into its exterior and lanterns. It has glass on three sides, and inside are red velvet curtains surrounding a replica coffin.

“It’s really unique,” Brown said. “I haven’t seen any others like it.”

Earlier this month the carriage was displayed in the parking lot of Safeway, as a fundraiser for the Hauntownsend “Carnival of the Twilight” haunted house, whose proceeds benefit the local Rotary club.

The haunted house, which takes place at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, is in its last weekend. It is open from 7pm to 10pm. Admission is $11.

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