When driving down West Mountain Street, it is difficult not to notice the grandeur and sophistication of the Pierce-Jefferson Funeral & Cremation Service.
Although it is hard to miss the home now, with its bright white columns and large windows, years ago the house was hidden from view with trees and vegetation.
The home first began as a small and narrow two-roomed educational building for the children of Kernersville.
The Masons built what was then known as the Plunket Place in 1856 as a subscription school supported by tuition from each student. According to the Bicentennial Book, students in the 1850s paid between $5 and $10 a month to attend the school.
As the town's population grew though, the need for greater education became apparent for the increasing number of students.
In 1864, Kernersville High School, originally known as the old Kernersville Academy, was opened and the Plunket Place was no longer needed as an educational institution.
The structure was bought, renovated and added on to, in order to become the Henry Shore Home in 1890.
Visible alterations were made to the home including additional rooms and a wrap-around covered porch.
Change would not be a stranger to the structure over the next couple of decades.
In the 1930s the Henry Shore Home became the Linville Funeral Home.
Along with the change in identity came four large white columns to adorn the front of the building.
The columns were brought to Kernersville by train by Ad Linville and attached to the home four years later. The conversion into a funeral home came at a time when columns were revolutionizing the country.
Throughout the Great Depression, many families were left on the streets without a home. When a loved one would pass away, the family was left without a resting place for the family member until the burial.
To alleviate this problem, the families would ask a nearby homeowner to store the body until a grave could be dug - hence the birth of funeral homes.
It was traditional for a family to live in the upstairs of the home and conduct business downstairs. The Linville Funeral Home was bought by the Ragland Funeral Home sometime after 1942, but the Linville's left their legacy by carving their name and the year 1942 on the concrete floor of the embalming room which was located in the basement of the house at the time.
According to old logbooks found in the home, an average service cost in 1964 was about $5.
In 1965, Jack Pierce bought the home from Ragland and moved himself, his wife Martha and their three children, Mike, Pam and Rick into the home.
For five years the family lived in the upstairs apartment of the home while they ran their funeral business on the ground floor. In 1970, the family moved out of the home in order to dedicate the entire structure to funeral services.
A chapel was added to the right wing of the house in 1973. Unfortunately the Pierce family was unaware at the time that one of the first funerals held in the new chapel would be that of their young son Mike. Michael was killed while riding a go-cart in July 1973. The chapel is dedicated in the memory of the Pierce's dear son and brother.
In 1983 a visitation area was also added on the left wing of the home.
Pierce sold the business in 1981 to a regional funeral firm but continued to manage the business until his retirement in 1996. Jack Pierce, in partnership with Danny Jefferson, again purchased the business that is now known as Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Service on Dec. 1, 2004.
Pierce was instrumental in the operations of the business until his death Oct. 30, 2005. Danny Jefferson continues to maintain the local ownership.
Today, Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Service operates a full service funeral home, offering traditional burial funerals, traditional cremation services and a complete array of funeral related items.
An authentic stained-glass window from the Plunket Place era still glows in the original exterior wall. And guests are offered a peek into the past by looking at one specific area of the green carpet covering the floor where the original outside wall can be seen where the foundation has settled.