The deserts of the American Southwest have been known to attract all kinds of eccentric characters and locales. From fictionalized portrayals like the characters in the Coen brothers’ hit Raising Arizona to real-life communities like the off-grid, alternative lifestyle community of Slab City located in the Colorado Desert of California, to the well-known “self-reliance” and art festival Burning Man, which occurs each year in the Black Rock desert of Northwestern Nevada, the deserts of the Southwest are full of unique, compelling peoples and places that serve as a testament to and a reminder of American individuality. Another lesser-known but no less quirky desert attraction is Coffinwood, located in the Southwestern Nevada community of Pahrump, which serves as a coffin manufacturing business, home to the proprietors, and a unique tourist destination.
Bryan and Dusty Schoening run Coffinwood and its business entity Coffin-it-up, which manufactures handmade custom-designed coffins, coffin furniture, jewelry, and storage boxes in addition to coffin and grave-related paintings. A tragic incident, the killing of Bryan’s parents and family dog by an intoxicated driver in 1997, spurred the business into being after Bryan became disillusioned and disgusted by the entire funeral industry, according to Travel Nevada.
Today coffinwood, which gets its name from a great big sign near the gate to the property that spells out Coffinwood, features numerous buildings, including a large gazebo, workshops, and planters boxes that are all coffin-shaped. Travel Nevada’s article notes that Coffinwood got its unique layout to be visible on Google maps and possibly even outer space. The site also features a pet cemetery, harkening back to Stephen King’s creepy tale, an extensive collection of hearses, custom-built tombstones, and even a wedding chapel; Bryan is an ordained minister.
For those who wish to see Coffinwood in person, it should be noted that entrance is free, but visitors must make an appointment with Bryan or Dusty beforehand as it is not only home to their business but also their home.
Coffin-it-up website- (https://www.coffinitup.com/new.htm)
Pahrump, NV Official Website- (https://www.pahrumpnv.gov/)
Majority of info on Coffinwood- (https://travelnevada.com/weird-nevada/coffin-it-up-at-pahrumps-coffinwood/)