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Tours To Be Offered After Former Dunkirk Funeral Home Bought

Ivy Rivera stands outside the former funeral home she purchased at the corner of Swan and Fourth streets in Dunkirk. Rivera, a psychic medium and church pastor, will move her business there but is opening the home, built in 1882, up to the public for a tour Saturday before renovations begin.

DUNKIRK — The historic Rhodes House on the corner of Fourth and Swan streets in Dunkirk is getting new life, more than a decade after its doors last opened.

The home, built by Francis and Grace Rhodes in 1882, was formerly the site of Gardner-Colletti Funeral Home. It has sat vacant since that business ended its run.

However, the Rev. Ivy Rivera has purchased the house and will move her Ivy League Psychic Academy to it, after some restoration work. Rivera is pastor of Roots Revival Interfaith and will hold services there for that church, as well.

She is offering an open house for community members to tour the building on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. The event will be livestreamed on YouTube and TikTok for people who don’t want to check out the house in person.

“I actually received a vision and direction from spirits,” said Rivera, when asked why she chose an old funeral home in Dunkirk for the new site of her businesses, which are currently headquartered in Grand Island. “We were actually in the process of moving to Salem (in Massachusetts) and looking at properties there.”

Then, she said she saw the Rhodes House in a dream. “When we went online, it was there — it hadn’t been (listed) because they were doing work on it,” she said. “We went and saw it and it was amazing.”

Rivera will use the second floor for her personal living space, and will hold her Roots Revival services on the first floor. Rivera is a Taino Arawak, the people that occupied Puerto Rico before Spanish colonization, and said the church has a focus on helping Puerto Rican’s get back to their pre-colonization spiritual roots. She also has an active psychic reading business and will do some of that there, too.

“I’m in the process of opening the doors, getting some 10 years of dust and deterioration cleaned out, and then I have appliances coming in a couple of days after the open house,” she said.

Rivera emphasized it will a “bare bones” open house for the curious, so they can see the condition of the building before she renovates it.

“Every time I opened the doors to ventilate the place, people would just flock,” she said. “I couldn’t get anything done, so I said, let’s just have an open house.

“It looks exactly like I did when I purchased it,” she added. “The embalming table is still there.”

Rivera also would like the public to be able to use the first-floor space. “If people want to host a wedding there, or some kind of remembrance ceremony, they can do that,” she said, adding she plans to rent the space out for parties as well.

The first thing she will offer for the public, however, will be historical and paranormal tours.

For more information on Rivera, visit her website, www.ivyriverapsychicmedium.com.

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