When Louis Beinhauer opened his first mortuary downtown on Third Avenue, the year was 1860 and Pittsburgh was an active city. Industrial advancements resulted in city growth and Louis, along with his son, Ferd C., anticipated the flourishing city’s needs. They opened two branches of the original location on the South Side; one on Sixth Street and the other at the base of the old incline on Twelfth Street.
Before long, Louis and Ferd C. were joined by the third generation of Beinhauers, Ferd C. Jr. and Louis Jr. In 1910 the family moved their business to West Liberty Avenue in Dormont, a community in the South Hills. They eventually incorporated all of their facilities at this location in 1921. A Pittsburgh development that facilitated the move was the construction of the Liberty Tunnels. The tunnels through Mount Washington made access to the South Hills easy, and opened this area up to development. No strangers to innovation, the Beinhauers built Pittsburgh’s first crematory in 1921. Still in operation today, it is the second oldest continuously operating crematory in the United States.
The Beinhauers’ three-story mortuary in Dormont was designed and built specifically for funeral services, the first in Allegheny County. And although it was the first Beinhauer mortuary built at 2630 West Liberty Avenue, it was destined not to be the last. Tragedy struck in 1952, when a seven-alarm fire burned the funeral home to the ground. The following is an excerpt from a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article that reported the blaze: “Scarred walls and charred timbers were all that remained yesterday of the funeral home of L. Beinhauer & Son Company, one of Pittsburgh’s oldest and busiest funeral directors.”
The Beinhauers salvaged what they could from the rubble. Although saddened by the loss of their mortuary, they moved to construct a new building where the old one once stood. Built anew and continuously improved, it remains a Beinhauer chapel to this day, serving the needs of the South Hills community.
Rebuilding the family business would have been much more difficult at this time, had it not been for the efforts of Ferd C. III and Louis III. The fourth Beinhauer generation to serve the company, Ferd and Louis came on staff after the Great Depression and World War II. Ferd, or “Fritz” as he was known to his friends, was especially well-liked in the community.
Ferd III ensured the future of the fifth generation of continuous family-owned funeral service with his son, Richard C. (“Rick”). Rick became president of the company in 1979. His efforts to extend Beinhauer’s services to other areas of town began in 1982, on the property that was originally purchased by his grandfather in 1946. Again as an industry leader, Beinhauer built the first specifically designed building for funeral service in Peters Township, Washington County, which has served the community for over 30 years. In 1996, the Beinhauer legacy continued as Rick’s son Scott became the sixth Beinhauer generation to serve the community, furthering a commitment to excellence that began over 152 years ago.
Today, the Beinhauer family serves five communities in the South Hills – Beinhauer-Connell in Bethel Park, Beinhauer-Bogan in Canonsburg, Beinhauer-Fryer in Bridgeville, and Beinhauers in Dormont and Peters Township. Our locations are family-friendly, providing children’s rooms, hospitality rooms where food and beverage can be served, and a community room where dinners, luncheons, and community events can be scheduled.
Beinhauer Funeral Homes can personalize services with options that other funeral homes don’t offer. Some of the special touches that we are able to provide are an interactive Web site, personalized DVD videos, and Webcasting of funerals, which can allow those with physical considerations or travel limitations the ability to attend a loved one’s funeral service over the Internet.
The Beinhauer family also manages Woodruff Memorial Park Cemetery, located on Route 19 in North Strabane Township. The newly constructed Community Mausoleum offers magnificent crypt entombment as well as extensive cremation niches, including bronze and beveled glass and a beautiful indoor chapel. Adjacent to the human cemetery, Peaceful Pastures provides a final resting place for pets of any kind, including the area’s only pet funeral and cremation center housing its own crematory.