Chestnut Funeral Home
18 NW 8th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601
The Chestnut family in Gainesville has served the mortuary needs of the African American community in Alachua County since 1914. Charles S. Chestnut, Sr. was a founding member of the Florida Morticians Association in the early 1900s. The business was founded in the early 1920s by Matthew E. Hughes and Charles S. Chestnut, Sr. as the Hughes and Chestnut Funeral Home. This Mission-style building was built for the business in 1928. Following Hughes’s death in 1947, the business was re-named the Chestnut Funeral Home. Four generations of the Chestnut family have managed the business, and provided training for undertakers, some of whom went on to establish their own funeral homes. In addition to providing professional service to the community, the Chestnuts have followed the tradition of civic duty set by Johnson Chestnut. He was the first member of the Chestnut family to settle in Gainesville, and served on the city commission from 1868-1869. Many of Johnson Chestnut’s descendants have been community leaders and have held a variety of elected offices. During the Civil Rights era, they worked to integrate schools and businesses and provided a meeting place at the Chestnut Funeral Home for the local chapter of the NAACP.