Levinson funeral home to move Pikesville location provides more space

closer to Beltway

March 19, 1996|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Joan Jacobson contributed to this article.

The Sol Levinson & Bros. Inc. funeral home, the oldest Jewish funeral home in Maryland, is moving from its location on Reisterstown Road in Northwest Baltimore to a new building on a acre wooded site in Pikesville.

The funeral home, founded by Max Levinson in 1892, is moving about 3 1/2 miles north into Baltimore County to be closer to the heart of the area's Jewish community, said Ira J. Levinson, one of three fourth-generation owners.

The property has been sold to Genesis Bible Fellowship Church, according to city land records.

A 25,000-square-foot, one-story facility is near completion at Mount Wilson Lane and Reisterstown Road, about a half-mile north of the Baltimore Beltway, and will open in six to eight weeks.

"Most of the families we serve are moving up toward the Owings Mills area and we felt that this location is centralized and will be more convenient for the people we serve," Mr. Levinson said. "It's the new growth area."

Traffic in the area where the funeral home is located in the city 6010 Reisterstown Road has become congested, according to Mr. Levinson. There are two lanes in each direction and no traffic light in front of the building. The site has only 90 parking spaces for mourners; the new location will have space for 240 vehicles.

Being located close to the Beltway will offer easier access. "Sometimes when people got off the Beltway, it took them 15 minutes to get from the Beltway to here," Mr. Levinson said.

Although there is a perception that the funeral home is located in a high-crime area, Mr. Levinson said that crime has not been a problem and was not a consideration in the move. But he acknowledged that people might feel more secure about going to a funeral in a more suburban setting.

The Levinson funeral home has been in Northwest Baltimore since 1960 and was located on Baltimore Street and then North Avenue before then. It is operated by the third and fourth generations of the family: Burton Levinson and his son, Ira; Stanley Levinson and his daughter, Ellen Sue; and Irv Levinson, whose father, Jack, also was in the business until his death years ago.

Levinson's has become an institution in Baltimore's Jewish community and was where the funeral of former city Comptroller Hyman A. Pressman was held Sunday.

The building contains two chapels, one that seats 500 and another that can accommodate 100 mourners. Each has its own carport and an adjoining room for the family of the deceased.

In the sanctuary of the main chapel, a prominent feature will be a wall made of Jerusalem stone imported from Israel. It is reminiscent of the Western Wall at the site of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem and symbolizes the past and future generations of the Jewish people, Mr. Levinson said.

The new location also will have a separate building to be used by those who believe they cannot enter a building where a dead person has been. The building will have audio and video equipment so they can view services.

The funeral home also will house the Marjorie Levinson Bereavement Library, dedicated to Ira Levinson's late mother. The collection, which will contain books, magazines, brochures and videos on death and the grieving process, will be available to residents, community leaders and schools, Mr. Levinson said.

Pub Date: 3/19/96

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