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Our History

Scenic Chapel is the third oldest, continuously operated business in Otero County. Before Statehood, when Alamogordo was nine years old, the community had grown to the point of needing a funeral parlor. Until then Alonzo J. Buck operated a livery service and furniture store and, as was common practice at the time, provided coffins and transportation to the community following a death. Alamogordo's first funeral home, A.J. Buck & Sons Undertakers, opened at 920 New York Avenue in 1907. 

In 1914, Thomas Geren moved to Alamogordo and purchased the funeral home with a partner, Karl Hammond. The Geren-Hammond Funeral Home operated until Mr. Geren's untimely death in 1923. 

Mr. Hammond declined to continue in the business so he sold his interest to Lewis "Lew" Leadinghaus, who operated Geren-Leadinghaus Funeral Home with Mr. Geren's widow, Georga Geren. On Valentine's Day in 1938, Mr. Leadinghaus and his wife Minnie "Min" were shot in the funeral home. Mrs. Leadinghaus died, Mr. Leadinghaus recovered, and their assailant was sent to prison. The funeral home was moved to a new building in 1939 at the corner on 10th Street and Maryland Avenue, and its chapel was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Leadinghaus. This building, which took four years to build out of marble quarried from Marble Canyon east of Alamogordo, became a landmark in Alamogordo. 

Mrs. Geren sold her interest in 1946 to Walter Mullins and the funeral home became Leadinghaus-Mullins. Mr. Leadinghaus died in 1948 and Mr. Mullins continued to operate the funeral home until 1950 when he sold an interest to H.G. “Red” O'Dell. 

Mullins-O'Dell Funeral Home became Mullins-Hamilton in 1952 when Mr. O'Dell sold his interest to Robert Hamilton. In 1971 Mr. Mullins retired and the name was changed to Hamilton Funeral Home. 

In 1986 Mr. Hamilton retired and sold the funeral home to two longtime employees, Harry Ford and Harold O'Dell. They did not change the funeral home's name. Mr. Ford sold his interest to Mr. O'Dell in 1989. Mr. O'Dell owned it until he sold the business to a public company. The ownership changed between large companies a few times while Mr. O'Dell stayed on as the business manager. 

Alamogordo Federal Savings and Loan purchased the funeral home facility in 1995 in order to build a new building. Hamilton-O’Dell Funeral Home began construction in 1996 and opened its current location in 1997. In 2009, then owner Legacy Funeral Group chose to sell this property to Kent and Lisa House. In 2019, a major update was made to the building. Pews were removed, and chairs and tables were added, to offer the flexibility for various Celebrations of Life and catering that meet the desires of today's consumer. With this in mind, the name was changed to Scenic Chapel.

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