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Photographer's Note

The Kuehl-Nicolay Funeral Home has been in operation since 1927. Built in 1893, the lovely structure seen here is a classic brick, Queen Anne Victorian-style building, now the only one of its kind in Paso Robles. Founder Otto Kuehl began renting the building in 1929 and arranged the first floor as a funeral home; he and his family lived on the second floor.

At that time, funeral services were often held at churches, so the funeral home featured only a small chapel, family visiting room and casket room. A 150-seat chapel was added in 1940, along with a private family room and a music room equipped with a pipe organ. The large chapel also included a state-of-the-art air conditioning system, definitely a necessity during summer months in central California. The building underwent renovations, including earthquake retrofitting, which were completed in the main funeral home in 2003, just prior to the December earthquake that damaged much of Paso Robles.

Its primary claim to fame, other than the historic structure, was that cultural icon James Dean was brought here almost immediately after he was declared dead on arrival at nearby War Memorial Hospital, which no longer exists. The small (I think only 32 beds at the time) building was demolished, leaving just an open field, now known as Hospital Hill, located on the west side of town. James Dean was kept here for three days before he was then transported back to his native Indiana, where he was buried, in Fairmount, just about a mile from the farm where he grew up.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 85 W: 78 N: 923] (1717)
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