Now located on Summer Street, in what was once a day care, the funeral home is looking forward to serving their customers in a more convenient and accessible building.
“Being in a small town, everybody knows everybody,” said R. Dudley Barton IV as he spoke about the old location. “So we have, most of the time, quite large visitations. If you get [there], if you’re not there at a certain time when visitation starts, [and] you’ve got a large visitation, and you’re an elderly person, you may have to park at the Baptist church, the Adairsville Baptist Church, parking lot and walk up the hill. So that was inconvenient for a lot of people.”
The new location offers parking for 130 vehicles on two acres.
Barton said the family had previously considered moving out of the Main Street building, including building on other land.
“We’ve talked about it in the past. We have some other property we had thought about using. Being as close [as we are] to the other facility everything sort of worked out well. The move has been easy because we’re just, what, less than half a mile. We like the location, so when the building came up for sale on the market, and after looking at it, we said, ‘Hey, we can do this. There’s no need to really build from the ground up when we can remodel this building.’”
Remodeling was originally planned to begin earlier in the year, but it was delayed after the Jan. 30 tornado.
“We had just completed the structure and the grading for the parking lot when the tornado hit the building. So there was no work that was going on inside the building at the time. There was extensive damage to the building,” he said.
Fortunately, Barton continued; remodeling and repairs were done by the same contractor, which saved time.
The new Summer Street location is approximately 7,000 square feet, Barton said. He estimated the old location was approximately 5,000 square feet. So while the new building is larger, he said the size difference was even more noticeable since all of the floor space is usable, unlike the old building’s upper floors.
Other improvements include a chapel that can hold nearly twice as many people: 160 as opposed to 90 in the old building. The showroom is now inside, which Barton said was a major improvement. The old location’s showroom was in a separate building, so potential customers had to go outside to look at caskets. While it is an area few customers will ever see, the preparation and embalming areas are larger as well, making the work easier.
The new funeral home also has two parlors and a snack bar area available for customers and their guests. Barton said the family had plans for the parlors.
“The technology, we’re up to date here too. We have wireless cameras set up in the chapel so we can oversee everything. We actually haven’t done this yet, but we’re going to have flatscreen TVs in every parlor so we can play DVDs for the family,” he said.
The family is also working on having the capability to broadcast funerals on their website. Family members and friends from out of state will eventually be able to watch the service, and speak, if they are unable to attend the service in person.
As for the old location, Barton said they were unsure what to do with it.
“You can put a big question mark [on that]. The funeral home is one of the oldest structures in Bartow County. It dates back to the 1840s, the original part of the building. We haven’t decided yet,” he said.
Ovelle Barton said her son and grandson were originally hesitant to approach her with the idea of moving the business.
“They were not sure I would go along with it. But, I said, sure, because I knew my husband would have wanted level ground for the people and everything like this. So I knew he would have been for it. The Barton family has been very receptive toward it all. They love it too,” she said.
Although the funeral home will mainly operate out of the new Summer Street location, Barton said funerals could still be held at the old building by request.
“All of us love the old building because of the history behind it and the beauty of it,” he said. “But I think as far as the overall convenience and working out of this facility for a week and a half, it looks like it will be successful. I think the community is appreciative and they like it.”