Way back in 2013, NBC posted a story with the headline, “Cremation is the hottest trend in the funeral industry.” You can click the link to read the full article, but it’s full of interesting statistics and fun facts, not the least of which is that three years ago, the death-care industry was a $17-billion-a-year business in America — and the area of fastest growth was cremation.
It’s no exaggeration to say that’s still true in 2016, and it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many folks in Kane County.
But what is a little surprising is that a unit of local government was quick to pick up on the trend, to anticipate the needs of local residents and to provide that service.
“The Columbaria at Union Cemetery is St. Charles Township’s latest option for a permanent resting place honoring those no longer here with us on earth,” the township says in the Columbaria Union Cemetery brochure. “The gardens create a sense of peace, contemplation and solace with compassion and dignity. Polished granite blocks and wooden benches allow for reflection, rest and remembrance.”
Union Cemetery is one of six cemeteries governed by a cemetery board made up of three trustees appointed by the St. Charles Township Board. Maintenance and operational expenses for the six cemeteries are financed through cemetery lot sales and a St. Charles Township Cemetery tax levy.
As the trends in burials have changed, St. Charles Township decided to add a columbaria in Union Cemetery, which is located at 1206 N. Fifth Ave., St. Charles, and the reason for adding the columbaria is simple: Cremations now represent more than 50 percent of all funerals, according to the brochure.
The columbaria allows for the internment of ashes in a picturesque garden setting. A niche for two sets of ashes can be purchased at any time with no other additional or future expenses except for the engraving of the niche front.
St. Charles Township Supervisor John Arthur Anderson said via email that burial and cremation plots are open to everyone, but non-township residents pay a little higher fee than township residents. According to a PDF on the township website, fees for a two-person niche at the columbarium are $2,200 for township residents and $2,950 for non-township residents.
Traditional burials simply cost more than cremation. There are higher added costs for opening and closing of graves, the purchase of caskets and costs of the required concrete vaults.
“(The columbaria at Union Cemetery) allows for a person to pick out a location and pay all the costs, so the family will not have to worry about it,” Anderson said. “The only other cost left to the family is the custom engraving, and the engraving can even be decided upon at the time of purchase.
“This is also a ‘greener’ approach to burial than a grave plot,” he said.
For more information about St. Charles Township Cemeteries, call the township at 630-584- 8699 or visit the St. Charles Township website.
History of Union Cemetery
SOURCE: Columbaria Union Cemetery brochure
In 1911, a new cemetery was needed as North Cemetery was not going to be large enough as St. Charles Township population was increasing. Union Cemetery, across the street from North, was formed in 1912. It was governed by trustees appointed by a Kane County judge.
St. Charles Township took over the cemetery in 1972. Union Cemetery joined North, Little Woods, South and Prairie as a Township cemetery. Round Grove Cemetery was added to the list of township cemeteries in 1997. Maintenance and operational expenses for the six cemeteries are financed through cemetery lot sales and a St. Charles Township Cemetery tax levy.
The six cemeteries are governed by a cemetery board of three trustees appointed by the St. Charles Township Board. As the trends in burials have changed, St. Charles Township decided to add a columbaria in Union Cemetery. Cremations are now more than 50 percent of all funerals. This allows for the internment of ashes in a picturesque garden setting.
A niche for two sets of ashes can be purchased at anytime with no other additional or future expenses except for the engraving of the niche front.