Patton Brothers Funeral Home, 1306 South Street

The Victorian-style structure at 1306 South Street is one of the most historically significant Black funeral buildings still standing in Nashville, a reminder of the city’s segregated past. Patton Brothers Funeral Home operated for nearly 70 years at the location, though the site’s mortuary history goes back nearly a century. From the 1920s, it was the Zema W. Hill Funeral Home, run by a charismatic Primitive Baptist evangelist whose marketing efforts included the placement of two snowball-toting concrete polar bears in front of the parlor — and two others in front of his home on Edgehill Avenue. Patton Brothers, which began in Franklin, TN, in 1882, bought out Hill in 1952 when he decided to retire and continued there for many years. A new owner purchased the property earlier this year, putting the building in danger of demolition.

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