|Agency Warm Springs Cemetery|
I believe that the rise of the large lawn cemetery—taking the maintenance of the cemetery out of the community and leveling the playing field—has withdrawn the value and use of the cemetery to the community. That, along with the steadily increasing cost for an increasingly abstract service, has driven many people out of the market place. Why buy sterility?
The lawn cemetery, as much as anything, was the result of the commercialization of the industry in the U.S., the necessity to trim costs and to stay in the black. The rest of the world did not follow our lead.
Other than National cemeteries where they give their plots away, can lawn cemeteries expect to survive?
|Rob Strasser Grave: American Legion Cemetery (Manzanita, OR)|
Two questions: 1) is the shift to cremation permanent? 2) what are the consequences of no longer having a memorial place for the dead? If we no longer have a physical spot to be with our departed, will that connection be lost? Do we care? Places where ashes are scattered tend to be lost to succeeding generations. Can we recoup memorialization without reversing the cremation trend? Do we want to?
Supposition: the majority of communities in Oregon are already in the cemetery business either directly or through maintenance districts. Some still have functioning IOOF or Masonic cemeteries that are, essentially, a community responsibility. All those cemeteries are still in business. I would wager that none supports itself.
|Fire Pit: Camp Polk Cemetery|
Fact (as well all know it): parks developed out of cemeteries. Are the functions antithetical? Could governments use internment fees as a way of generating acquisition funds?
Who should be in this business and what’s it going to look like tomorrow? Is memorialization a thing of the past? Is it worth recovering? Is there a partnership available? Do you want the Post Office to manage your burial? Perhaps not.
It would be nice to have a dialogue about this, but I’m not sure how or with whom. Grade school kids and politicians? Neighborhood cemeteries?
|Paul Washington Cemetery|