Howard Leslie Hallett, Sr. (b.1889)

Hallett Funeral Home in the Daily Star, March 24, 1926

Daily Star – Wednesday, March 24, 1926 – Hallett Funeral Home 72nd Anniversary

Astoria Undertaking Firm,- Oldest on Long Island, Began in 1854.

For an undertaking firm to be in business for 72 years is a rare thing- This distinction belongs to the firm of Frederick T. Hallett, 129-131 Fulton Avenue, Astoria.

This firm was established in March, 1854, by Charles W. Hallett, grandfather of the present funeral director, Howard L. Hallett. It is Long Island’s oldest undertaking firm and one of the oldest, it not the oldest
in America.

These 72 years of continuous business make a remarkable history, more so because the business has been conducted all this time by members of the one family and in the same spot.

In March, 1854, Charles W. Hallett started in the undertaking business at 127 Fulton Avenue, Astoria, in a small office with only the equipment necessary for the business in those early days. Giving personal supervision to each case, he built up a successful business.

In 1904, after being in business for 50 years, he retired leaving the business to his son, Frederick T. Hallett.

One of the first changes made by the latter was the purchasing of the adjoining property, 129-131 Fulton avenue, and erecting an up-to-date undertaking establishment. He continued in business until 1921, when he turned the business over to the Hallett family, which was incorporated with Howard L. Hallett as funeral director.

In association with his uncle, Frederick T. Hallett, as a chum and being almost constantly around the latter’s place of business, Howard L. Hallett drifted into the profession, being a graduate with first honors from the Renouard School
for Embalmers in 1907. He started as assistant to his uncle and advanced step by step to his present position.

The development of the business to date has been due to his excellence and foresight. Realizing rapid growth of Queens and its lands, In 1922 he remodeled the buildings, sparing neither effort expense in order to make his funeral home and chapel the most up to-date establishment in Queens Borough.

The smallness of the average home and apartment created a new demand—”the funeral home and chapel” – where a funeral could be held amid homelike surroundings and with the same privacy, and with that thought in mind. Mr. Hallett erected his present establishment.

The front office and the reception reams are finished in oak with brown the prevailing color scheme. The walls are of mottled brown, a shade lighter than the woodwork and furnishings. The furniture, potted ferns and flowers add much to the homelike atmosphere.

Entrance to the chapel is gained through two leatherette – covered duvets plated in bronze directly off the reception rooms. The chapel Is a cleverly conceived architectural masterpiece. None of the noise or bustle of the outside reaching the chapel, due to its location in the immediate center of the building.

The walls of the chapel are finished in gray and the floor is of composition terra cotta in color. The lighting effects are concealed, which throw a mellow glow over the chapel and the furnishings are of gray wicker. An ornamental dome of stained glass over the center of the chapel permits ample sunlight to enter. Oftentimes funeral services have been held in the chapel with as many as 200 people attending.

Directly back of the chapel are the preparation laboratories. Here white enamel predominates and these rooms could be mistaken for the operating rooms of a hospital.

In November. 1923, a private ambulance service was added to the organization and In April, 1923. Howard L. Hallett bought over his cousin’s undertaking establishment, Elbert Hallett of 161-163 Amity street, Flushing, and merged It with his Long Island City establishment.

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