The building site on Wilton Road that used to be the headquarters of Save the Children, and that sits vacant today, has an interesting past. In 1891 The Embalmers’ Supply Company opened their manufacturing plant on the banks of the Saugatuck River in Westport.

In those days most embalming fluids contained arsenic and mercury. Embalmers’ Supply also manufactured the instruments such as pumps and heating devices so that the fluids could be used. Prior to this time, all embalming instruments were made in Germany.

In 1889 Mr. Dolge, the owner, founded the first United States College of Embalming to train future undertakers and to provide certificates for the new profession. State licensing did not enter the picture until the 1930’s.

In 1987 the Embalmers’ Supply Company closed its Westport plant and moved to Stratford, where it exists today as mainly a chemical company.

Written by Margaret Mazer for the Westport Historical Society. For more information on the society and membership please visit Visit the Remarkable Gift Shop for unique gifts. Mazer can be reached at 203-571-8704.