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Guessing Game Over – Former Frazier’s Funeral Home to Become “4-5 unit multi-unit residential building”

by Prince Of Petworth June 18, 2012 at 10:30 am 56 Comments

391 Rhode Island Ave, NW

Back in Sept. 2011 the former Frazier’s Funeral Home sold for $850,000. There’s been lots of speculation about who may be moving into the space but we finally have an answer. A reader sends word from the D.C. Historic Preservation Office/Office of Planning:

“it is being converted into a 4-5 unit multi-unit residential building. The building was apparently originally three rowhouses merged together. The party walls are not longer intact on the interior, though. The formstone is being removed and the brick is being renovated.”

  • Anon

    Sounds like the beginning of a good horror movie.

    • Meg

      I was going to say that there should be a caveat that you would be sharing your digs with a few wandering spirits. Mwahahaha.

    • bb

      …Or the beginning of your typical Scooby Doo episode.

      • Anonymous

        And I would’ve scared away those gentrifiers if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!

      • “Let’s split up, gang!” (because that’s ALWAYS a good idea and doesn’t lead to a hilarious chase scene with numerous doors in a hallway that are impossibly connected.)

        • Anonymous

          allison, are you sure your name isn’t velma?

          • BitterElitist


  • No way would I live there!

  • Sepie

    If you’re looking for a new set of digs and not getting the heebie jeebies, then this place should be great!

  • Anonymous

    I’d be concerned about contamination from the funeral home chemicals.

    • Yeah, I was just wondering about the formaldehyde.

      • crin

        There’s more formaldehyde off gassing from modern construction glues and materials than what the funeral home is leaving behind. Tight building envelopes + lots of glue = formaldehyde gases. Thanks poorly engineered “green” buildings, http://alturl.com/k6du6, but you know cool and hip.

  • monkeyrotica

    The best part is that all the formaldehyde saturating the walls pretty much ruins your olfactory senses, so you don’t smell what’s left of the corpses.

  • DC buyer

    This sounds like a very risky investment. I highly doubt if they can make money there.

    • DC Buyer

      But of course, I was wrong about 1916 9th ST NW and I may be wrong this time.

  • PeachyKeen

    Never ever in life would I live there. They better call an old priest and a young priest before they move people in.

  • pokerface

    I smell a TLC reality show in the making!

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t mind living there if that hot redhead chick from Six Feet Under was my neighbor.

  • Anonymous

    Hopefully this will bring some life to that corner.

  • Anon X

    I love how PoPers are so anxious to find fault with religion and ridicule the faithful, but then when someone talks about developing a funeral home into a condo building the comments are completely skewed in the direction of “omg i would never live there because of the ghosts!”

    So, holy ghost = ridiculous, ghost of the embalmed = realistic. Got it. For the record, I dont believe in either.

    I dont think this place is particularly attractive because its situated at one of the most hellish intersections in the city.

    Also, the chemicals really shouldnt be an issue. The whole place will be gutted. Even if it were not, its not like they’re making chemicals. Are high school chemistry labs equally inhabitable? They werent spraying the walls down with a fire hose blasting formaldehyde.

    • I imagine they’ll target out of town nebies to the city, who won’t know that A) It’s an old funeral home and B) the amount of noise from that intersection will make sleep only possible from alcohol induced comas.

      • Bloomingdude

        I disagree. People will know it was a funeral home and they’ll consider the traffic — and they’ll snap it up. Why? Cause the place will be priced just a tad less cause of the location so people will make the tradeoff, just as they do when they buy directly on crazy-busy Connecticut Avenue or 14th street. The funeral home won’t be a big deal, particularly since the insides will have been gutted. Some people will actually think its history is cool.

        • Denizen of Tenallytown

          Eh, don’t quite agree. This is more like renting/buying a (fictional) townhouse apartment right next to Connecticut Ave and K St. Except that Connecticut and K is probably quieter at night. Some people may “snap it up” but only if they make a rush decision.

          • Anonymous

            the noise at night won’t bother residents if they are working the graveyard shift.

        • Anonymous

          That would depend on how far the gut job goes. Formaldehyde seeps all the way through any porous materials.

    • TG

      You kind of stole my thunder because I was going to post “The power of christ compels you” as a movie reference but now you might think I am ridiculing the faithful.

    • maxdc

      Poor, persecuted Christians. One insult after another. I hear NOM and AFA are hiring if you need a job

      • Jeff

        You must be awfully proud of yourself, branding all Christians as right-wing, fundamentalist extremists. It’s people exactly like you who think that all Muslims are terrorists.

        • +1 So apparently, just because I am ‘religious’, I automatically think all gay people are going to Hell. Thanks for letting me know!

    • Identified

      ‘I love how PoPers are so anxious to find fault with religion and ridicule the faithful,”

      haaaaahaaaahaaaa. Sorry, that made me lol. And I am not kidding – I really did laugh out loud.


  • Anonymous

    The formstone is a lot more frightening than any potential ghosts.

    • Anonymous

      it’s being removed

  • Anonymous

    I can’t WAIT for the ghost stories

  • Anon

    It’s interesting how our sense of the past, as well as our power of facing unpleasant facts, fails us. Up until about the late 19th century, it was barely possible to live in any house, anywhere, in which someone hadn’t died. Relatives died in their bedrooms, at home, rarely at “hospitals.” Indeed, the idea of “childhood” hadn’t been invented, primarily because children didn’t make it to adolescence with all that great a frequency. For example, of Charles Dickens’ 8 brothers and sisters, only he and another survived to adulthood. Meaning that, were you living at that time, you might very well be inhabiting the bedroom or even the bed of sibling who died only days before. Don’t know if any of you got the memo, but death is what indeed await us all, and I’d worry more about the living among you than the realities surrounding those who have already gone…

    • CA

      Yeah, having lived in several, nicely renovated or not, old row houses in DC and in a few old wearhouses up in NYC’s SoHo/Village for most of my adult life…I assume my bed has been situated in the same corner someone died prior to my inhabitance. Either by simple old age, crack or the like.

      • Anonymous

        Ha. Apparently spaces where people have died in NYC apartments don’t hold the same, erm, “squeamish qualms” as they do here. Have you ever seen a line where people are waiting for a chance at one of these apartments where the inhabitant died and the apartment is not being grandfathered to someone else. No squeamish qualms there, my friends.

        • Anonymous

          i think people feel differently about funeral homes and apartments.

    • Anonymous

      i do admit that my memory of the late 19th century has gotten hazy.

    • mark

      I think anyone who lives in a hundred-year-old house — the city has a great many of them — would do well to suppose someone had already died in it.
      But people don’t really die in funeral homes so much as lie around in them after they’ve died.

      Dying is perfectly natural, but there’s nothing natural about the way a modern funeral home prepares a decedent for burial in these parts. It only looks normal because we’re used to it. I don’t know anything about Frazier’s, but it’s hard to bet on the perfect regulatory compliance of any small business inside the District. In the case of a funeral home that means some pretty nasty stuff.

      So I wouldn’t live in a former funeral home, and I’m pretty sure the building’s history won’t make it onto the brochures.

  • Anonymous

    I’m assuming that most of the people on here are joking about not living there because it used to be a funeral home. When I die, I plan to haunt something that actually has some meaning. Maybe my old house, maybe the place I die, maybe the mental institution where they’ll lock me up for the last six months of my life. The random funeral home that my relatives use to get me all dolled up for my funeral, however, will not be on the list.

  • Anonymous

    oh, goodie, more luxury condos.

  • I think the person who drives that old hearse with the feet in the back window should snap it up. Poifect!

  • Didn’t someone do a thoughtful post @ the formaldehyde issue in response to the original post about this building (when it first went up for sale)?

  • Anonymous

    This place receiving a gut job = irony

  • Anonymous

    Luxury condos. Hope buyers aren’t a bunch of stiffs.

    • Anonymous

      On second thought, prices might come down if there’s more-bid

      • Anonymous

        west russians will probably buy this place. hopefully not some depressing baskirs but some fun urals.

  • Anonymous

    this building has good bones.

    • Anonymous

      Disagree. I’d prefer it be cleared. Maybe a hotel. Westin Peace.

      • Meese is a Pig!


        • Anonymous


  • My Washington

    My mother was buried from Frazier’s in 1970. It was one of the most popular funeral homes in DC.

  • anonymous

    the DC Guesthouse on 10th Street was beautiful and booked full most of the time and it was a former funeral home. One of the last things they removed was the ‘lift’ that took the bodies from the embalming room in the basement to the upper floors. So, not unheard of in this area!

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if the sellers will be honest and tell potential (read naive) buys the truth of what the property was prior to being converted to condo’s?


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