Parker County Today May 2016 - Page 62

Chapel Pew Woodwork child and adult, James Plowman basically thinks of it as home. In fact, he currently lives in the house just west of the distinctly styled chapel. So he knows a few things about the place. “I know every square inch of that building,” he said with a chuckle. “The basement was put in in 1938. And the reason I know that is because I talked to a plumber, who has since passed away, but when he was eight years old he would drive the mules up and down the dirt ramp as the men would fill the scoops full of dirt they were digging out from underneath there.” Plowman is well-acquainted with the appointments and furnishings of the multi-peaked Victorian structure. “The pews are original to the building,” he said as we walked through the old chapel. “We actually had them refinished about four years ago. And because they’re curved, they only go in a certain way.” The lovely handworked pews curve gracefully before the podium, fanning out across the chapel in ever-widening arcs. On some of them the original hand-carved scrolling adorning the ends remains, a testament to the handiwork of bygone days. “We checked into buying new curved pews, and it would have been ridiculously expensive to replace them,” Plowman said. “So it cost us about $30,000 to have someone come in and take them out, strip them down to the bare wood, reassemble them and bring them back in. But that was less than a third of what it was going to cost us to replace them.” He added that curved pews are fairly uncommon and that most pews come together in the aisles at angles. Not MAY 2016 PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY Weatherford’s third funeral home — Galbreaith-Pickard. Today, the architecturally unique building at 913 North Elm St. continues to serve Galbreaith-Pickard as a funeral chapel, though the families who founded the establishment are long out of the picture. According to curren t Galbreaith-Pickard president James Robert Plowman (named “Robert” after Robert Galbreaith), his father and mother, James Valentine (J.V.) and Norma Plowman, bought the business and the historic building in 1975. J.V. Plowman had worked for the funeral home since 1955 when he took a job as an ambulance driver. “Oddly enough,” James Plowman said, “my father brought my grandmother, his mother [Mary], to the grand opening and basically said ‘I’ll drop you off, but I’m not going in.’” The place was jammed with people. “It was a year later to the day that he got the job here driving ambulances — March 1, 1955.” J.V. Plowman soon became a licensed funeral director and carved out a 20-year career with Galbreaith-Pickard, later buying it from Robert Galbreaith, by then the sole owner. Why is it not called Plowman’s Funeral Chapel? “Because of the consistency and reputation of the name. Even though dad had been here almost since the beginning, the decision was made not to change the name,” James Plowman explained. Having grown up in and around the interesting old building, even living in the upstairs apartment as both 60 James Plowman in the chapel