Sunday, March 01, 2009

In Plain Sight | Columbarium

World War II veterans are dying at a rate of 1000 per day, and honored soldiers from other conflicts--large and small, old and on-going--continue to be carried home to Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Like the wars our veterans fought, constantly evolving are the methods for creating their final resting places. As cremation becomes a more prevalent choice for internment, the cemetery has recently added more than 5,000 columbarium niches--a first for the 436-acre landmark. Designed by Dahlgren, Shardlow & Uban (now Bonestroo), these precast concrete units contain 96 niches each and are arranged with military precision in private rows which open onto simple gardens.

Even for those to be buried in traditional plots, space-saving changes are in place. More than 10,000 pre-placed burial vaults were installed in 2003, each designed in double-decker fashion to accommodate two caskets in a single grave.

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