A columbarium is a room or a simple self-supporting structure, typically found in a cemetery or church. This structure is made up of recessed compartments for placing urns that hold cremation ashes. It’s a nice way of keeping ashes near the burial site of other family members without actually digging a traditional grave. The word columbarium comes from the Latin term columba which means, “dwelling place of the dove.” A columba originally meant a segmented structure for doves and pigeons. This is now called a dovecote.
The columbarium has an interesting history. The Romans were the first to make use of them. The dearly departed’s ashes were put into ornate urns in underground chambers. These chambers were decorated with frescos and mosaics. Over a century, churches were the primary home to the columbarium. The most preferred locations for them were either within the church, or a cemetery. Since ancient times, Buddhists have also used them inside their temples as well.
One of the most stunning columbariums was built in 1969. The Resurrection Mausoleum and Columbarium in Justice, Illinois includes 22,000 square feet of faceted glass. It has become a major architectural landmark. It is recognized as one of the largest glass installations in the world.
Today, columbariums can be found in public cemeteries and mausoleums. A columbarium can consist of a freestanding urn, or part of a large public mausoleum. The edifice may consist of an outdoor wall containing niches. It can alternately be inside a building made just for this purpose. A columbarium can also be built into a wall, alongside a vault for coffins.
Mountain Valley Funeral Home and Cemetery offers these options and more. One of these alternatives includes a columbarium with glass-front niches inside an air-conditioned mausoleum. All of our mausoleums offer columbarium choices, as well as private family ones, too.
Since 1951, Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery has been helping families with all pre-planning and end-of-life decisions. Our compassionate and professional staff is here to help you decide which columbarium style is best for you or your loved one. Contact us at 480-832-2850 with any questions you have. Our caring staff is available to assist you.