JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Hillman-Pratt and Walton Funeral Home sits still as traffic buzzes by on Beaver Street in Downtown Jacksonville.
The funeral home represents what Lavilla used to be. That's why it's important for it to stay.
"It was very significant to save the remaining structures like that particular building," said Urban Planner and historian, Ennis Davis. "Lawton Pratt was one of the first black funeral directors in the State of Florida and the funeral home is representative of that it's one of the oldest buildings dedicated to that industry, and it actually operated until 2019."
The funeral home was built in 1916, though the business dates back to 1900.
Eric Adler, founder and chief executive officer of Silver Street Management, told The Florida Times Union that the plan is to convert it into 13 short and long-term residential units along with a tapas, wine bar and a swimming pool.
Despite the changes, the historic roots of the funeral home will remain, something Davis says he is happy to see.
"This helps activate that particular area of LaVilla and as more adaptive reuse projects and infield projects come online you can almost recapture that Black Wall Street concept that used to be in that area of LaVilla," Davis said.
Soon you can visit the landmark and stay for a slice of history with a glass of wine.