The trustees of the Prairie Grove Cemetery Association Inc. are pleased to announce the arrival of its first columbarium, which was installed by crane Tuesday, November 13. The investment of the columbarium is part of the not-for-profit cemetery's long-range improvement plan to serve Waynedale and the Fort Wayne community.
Board of Director's President Tom Rodak says, "This attractive addition to our cemetery is in response to the growing trend toward cremation; and we find it to be a practical use of space. We've learned through the years that traditional ground burial is not for everyone, and the columbarium provides families with yet another option for folks seeking a final resting place for themselves or their loved ones. And we felt that a columbarium would further contribute to the serenity and dignity of the cemetery."
The word "columbarium" comes from the old Latin columba (dove) and refers to a nesting place for doves or pigeons. Today, a columbarium is better known as a stone structure with small niches, or spaces, for the interment of the deceased ashes after cremation. This new upright China Grey granite structure, weighing 7,000 lbs., measures 6½ ft. x 3 ft. around, and 5 ft. in height. It contains 48 individual, secure niches – 24 on the front and 24 on the back. Each niche is essentially a 12-inch cubicle, with a one-foot-square black door.
In addition to the columbarium, visitors to Prairie Grove may have also noticed the cutting of a new driveway this past summer at the southwest portion of the cemetery, allowing ease of access to burial areas yet to be developed. The placement of the columbarium at the new intersection allows for the later addition of two or three companion structures, as the need develops.
The cemetery, one of the oldest in the Fort Wayne area, is located in the 6000 block of Old Trail Road and dates back, well before the Civil War, with its earliest recorded burial having been a two-year-old boy in 1833. Located on nearly 17 acres, there are still plenty of traditional in-ground burial spaces available in addition to the columbarium niches.
Waynedale's Prairie Grove Cemetery hopes that, in the end, you'll find your niche with them. For information on pricing and availability, you may call Jan, the cemetery's secretary, at 747-4070.