Opp and Conrad Funeral Home
Helena Historic District
Jacob Opp and his sons Lawrence and Arthur worked for the longtime undertaking firm of Herrmann and Company before opening their own mortuary with partner Ralph J. Conrad in 1926. Both Lawrence and Arthur Opp were graduates of Chicago’s prestigious Worsham College of Mortuary Science. Unlike the Opps, Conrad was new to the funeral business; he previously managed the Bozeman telephone exchange. The partners hired builder George Jacoby to construct this facility specifically as a funeral home. Its gently pitched roof, exposed rafter tails, and mixed materials of brick and stucco harmonize with the urban landscape. Concrete-capped brick piers flanking a sleek panel of glass blocks, centered beneath the roof’s peak, emphasize a horizontal orientation popular at the time. Finely crafted leaded, beveled, and stained glass windows enhance the façade while handsome wood finishing completes the interior. The state-of-the-art facility was Helena’s first undertaking firm to use limousine-type vehicles, thus eliminating antiquated conveyances traditionally associated with funerals. Opp and Conrad operated until 1954 when the name changed to the Retz Funeral Home.