Either way, this building deals with a subject that most other historical villages rarely touch upon: death.
The rate of deaths in the 19th century was great, especially for infants and toddlers. Much more than in our modern times, death was considered a fact of life and was dealt with quite differently than we do today.
To carry the body from the place where it lay in state (usually in the parlor of the home of the deceased), the coffin was carried by pall bearers to the final resting place (more than likely the church graveyard), or, if the graveyard was too long a journey, a horse-drawn flatbed cart or hearse would have been used.
This building was used as a 'storage unit' for the hearse.
According to a reader of this blog (see "comments" below), this building remained in that manner until the 1980's, when it was returned to it's original purpose as a hearse shed.
It's unfortunate that I have no photos to show it as the Deluge Fire Department. There are copy written photos from their guide books but I would rather not use those.
From the time it was originally placed inside Greenfield Village, the building was relocated numerous times, most recently in 2003, hence the reason for the different backgrounds between the first two photos.
There is obviously some importance to the building to the Village management, for, while a number of other original structures have been removed (cooper shop, cobbler shop, as well as a few homes and mills), the hearse shed remains.
For further information on mourning practices of the 19th century click HERE