The History Of A. L. Moore & Sons

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A. L Moore Mortuary - 1996

When we first decided to do a history of A. L. Moore Sons Mortuary located here in Phoenix, Arizona it was because of what they have meant to our family through the last century.   But after deciding this we started to think of what mortuaries have done and how important they are to all of us during the most traumatic times of our lives.

When we think that at one time families had to do the preparation of their loved ones for burial, had to build their own caskets, unless they had a lumber yard who would do it for them.   In most cities, especially Phoenix there was no way to bring in caskets until the railroad appeared to transport them from the bigger cities.   To take your loved ones to the cemetery for burial meant you would have to have a wagon or borrow one to load the casket and friends or relatives to help.&nbnsp;  To think that there were caring and compassionate families like the Moore Family to come along and take that burden away from the family is a blessing that we often take for granted.

So for all of these reasons we decided to write about the story of A. L. Moore & Sons Mortuary and because of the help and information provided by Posey Moore Nash this has been possible.   We hope in telling their history it will take on a greater meaning for all of us the role in which mortuaries everywhere has in all of our lives.


Not sure when this picture was taken but you can tell by the make of the cars that it was an early picture of A. L. Moore & Sons.

In 1906 A. L. Moore established partnership with A. H. McLellan.   Their first business address was 29 W. Adams Street, Phoenix.   In 1909 they built at 329-33 W. Adams Street, a new Mortuary and the building extended back 100 feet from Adams Street.   The first addition was to extend the building clear to the alley.   In 1917 A. L. Moore purchased the 100 feet to the west of the Mortuary extending to the corner, and built on the back part of the lot a garage and storeroom with 2 store fronts facing on 4th Avenue that were rented.

In 1925 a 15 foot addition was added on the west side of the original building and the selection room upstairs was increased in size by the 15 feet.   In 1930 the garage and storeroom were demolished and Memory Chapel erected and a new selection room.   The old selection room was then used as a storeroom.   The stairway up to it that was originally used right east of #2, was removed and an elevator installed that could be used for the garage, the operating room downstairs, the stockroom and the selection room upstairs.

The three arrangement offices upstairs were used as follows: the first one was Mr. Moore’s office, the next one for his son, Harold, and the third one for Posey.   There were three upstairs reposing rooms and two downstairs, which were later combined into one, making what was later called #2.

The original Chapel was still used as a Drawing Room Chapel.   Early in 1946 property was acquired on the northwest corner of 4th Avenue and Adams to use for a parking lot.   Early in 1950 a partition was removed which made it necessary for people to go in from the Adams Street entrance to get to the upstairs apartment, and widened the area which became an office.   The storeroom just east of it was the original office.

In 1956 seventy-five feet east of the building was acquired and the Chapel of Memories, the rest rooms, three state rooms and the dressing rooms were built along with an entirely separate heating and cooling system and some parking on the east side of the building.

In the fall of 1967 the condemned building on the southeast corner of 4th Avenue and Adams Street was purchased.   This was demolished and an adequate shelter was constructed over the ramp for the downstairs parking.   A slum-block wall was erected with three gates and adequate lighting so that there was sufficient parking for the larger services.

From the original twenty-five feet on Adams, it was increased to 490 feet frontage on Adams and on three corners of 4th Avenue and Adams Street.

A. L. Moore & Son is one that shows the original building built in 1909 and the addition of 1925.   Where the first two lines go upward over the center archway is the original building built in 1909, the part that is to the right of the third line is the addition of 1925.


A. L. Moore & Sons Mortuary, 333 W. Adams, further expanded its parking facilities.

The mortuary acquired a 150-by-140 foot lot at the southwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Adams.

A condemned one-story-and basement building on the lot that once housed an automobile agency was razed to provide a lighted paved parking area.

The basement, which was reached by a ramp, was then used to park the mortuary’s vehicles.

The mortuary, founded downtown in the early 1900s, owned the southwest and northwest corners of Adams and Fourth Avenue, both of which it used for parking, and the southwest corner on which the mortuary’s buildings were situated.

With the new parking site, the mortuary had four parking areas, one at the east and three on the West Side of its facilities.


Albert Lincoln Moore was almost 40 when he quit the fuel business in Pennsylvania and came west to the Salt River Valley in 1904.

A couple of years after his arrival, he went into partnership with A. H. McLellan to found Moore-McLellan mortuary at 29 W. Adams Street in Phoenix.

By 1909, the business had built a facility at 329 w. Adams.   That 25 by 100-foot facility was still in use in 1996.   It had been expanded, most notably in 1930 and in 1956, and occupied the entire corner of 329-333 W. Adams.

The 1930 addition of Memory Chapel caused The Arizona Republic to note, in large headline type, that the chapel cost $29,000.

The Mediterranean-style facility, which included both large and small chapels were demolished, however, to make way for a new Phoenix municipal court center.

Posey Moore Nash, great-granddaughter of the founder, says that sometime after the mortuary’s start, her great-grandfather acquired the McLellan interest and the business became A. L. Moore & Sons.

Over the years, the funeral home handled services for many of Arizona’s notables, including the victims of alleged "trunk murderess" Winnie Ruth Judd; P. K. Wrigley of chewing gum and mansion fame, Gov. Ernest McFarland; and lately, both businessman and civic leader Harry Rosenzweig and broadcasting magnate Tom Chauncey.

A. L. Moore’s son Lee, who succeeded to the business, was an aviation and photography buff.

In the 1950’s, he started Arizona’s first air-ambulance service with a twin-engine Beech airplane, in the process marrying his business with a hobby.

The family sold the mortuary to Service Corp. International in 1984 but remained active in the business.

Photos of the mortuary taken through the years show a progression of funeral cars, from the Model T to Packard limousines and hearses, to the Cadillacs of today.

The Packards were a natural.   Not only were they then America’s prestige car, but the Packard dealership was just across the street from the funeral home.

An evaluation of the Moore Building was conducted by the Phoenix Historical Preservation Commission, which led to the demolishing of one of Phoenix’s greatest landmarks.

A special memorial tribute service on November 15, 1996 at 333 West Adams was held by the Moore family to thank the community and honor the families that they had served.

For our family we would like to thank you the Moore Family for all you have meant to our family.&nbswp;  For being there in the times of our sorrow, for showing great concern and compassion.   Your family has truly been a part of the history of our family.

Posey Moore Nash we would personally like to thank you for sharing the history of A. L. Moore & Sons, which was founded by your great-grandfather and allowing us the honor of sharing this on our web site.




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