Memorials and Monuments
As humans, we have two basic desires: to remember and to be remembered. A monument or memorial can be considered the book title of our loved one’s life.
Psychologists are quick to note that memorialization is a universal need. Once focused especially on the noble few – think the great Pyramids of Egypt – memorialization is now fundamental to who we are as humans. Today we leave no man or woman behind as all of our departed are commemorated and honored.
How We Memorialize
How do we memorialize our dead today? Do we bring flowers or place a stone on a grave marker? Do we set up a roadside memorial to honor our loved ones as we drive by? Or do we race for a cure or walk for a cause? Societies erect monuments with horses and mounted riders, build walls of granite with names etched in grief, and sculpt grand memorials for unknown soldiers and victims of war.
There are endless ways to memorialize our loved ones, limited only by the boundless imagination of the human mind and wishes of the heart. However it is done, memorials help us find meaning after the physical separation of death. We mark this rite of passage with something that will carry the memory of a life through time.
At Bellefontaine, we remember loved ones in time-honored ways and in new ones. Families place bouquets on graves, build monuments and gather for services. They may choose to place benches or name a garden. Bellefontaine marks the spring and summer of life and its autumn and winter in a beautiful, ever-changing arboretum. As memory keepers, we maintain records of those entrusted to our care in our archives and share them with the next generation.
Cemeteries and memorials are, by nature, places concerned with the future as well as the past. By placing our name on an obelisk, a bench, a memorial garden, or in an archive, we trust that future generations will remember us. By honoring our dead we are affirming our faith in the future.
At a funeral service, the body is present in a casket, usually having been embalmed, which is not required by state law. At a memorial service, the body is not present but an urn with the cremated remains may be. Bellefontaine Cemetery has two beautiful locations available for either kind of service.
Hotchkiss Chapel is available for either a memorial service or as a gathering place before or after a service. Its distinctive character adds an air of stately grace and elegance to any event. The historic chapel, designed by noted architects Eames and Young and dedicated in 1909, is named for Almerin Hotchkiss, the cemetery’s first Superintendent and landscape designer. It was restored for its hundredth anniversary in 2009 and a columbarium was added. Hotchkiss is both heated and cooled and is handicap accessible. The intimate interior can seat 75 people.
Bellefontaine’s Lakeside Columbarium also is available for receptions or as a gathering place before or after a service or interment. The open-air Lakeside Columbarium is nestled between two lakes and along a peaceful brook. Its inner courtyard offers benches and a fountain for rest and contemplation. Paths wind through the area, inviting leisurely strolls through the beautiful landscape. The lawn can accommodate a tent for outside gatherings.
We are happy to assist you with all the details of a service or event, including catering arrangements, florists and musicians. Beyond memorial and funeral services, both areas are available for events such as weddings, private dinners or group meetings.
“The only truly dead are those who have been forgotten,” – Jewish saying
Thousands of unique memorials and monuments mark the grounds of Bellefontaine. These memorials honor individuals and families with dignity, character, and art. Bellefontaine Cemetery can assist you with the design of a unique monument and will plan for your memorial according to your exact instructions.
Monument Design & Purchase
Of all the things we leave behind, our gravestones will tell our tale to the many generations to follow. Dead men may tell no tales, but their tombstone will speak with eloquence.
For 160 years, Bellefontaine has worked with families, architects, and artists to memorialize the dead in the unique spirits of their lives. We can design memorials ranging from flat tablets to 20-foot obelisks and add statuary from animals and angels to the abstract, with the option of creating anything a family desires.
A vast inventory of samples is available on site to help guide your selection, and our staff will work with you to design a one-of-a-kind marker, or if you already own a family lot, one in keeping with your history and style. We are also happy to work with your preferred monument dealer.
In a very real sense, a tombstone itself is a symbol, for it meets the most basic definition of a symbol: something that stands for something else. Gravestones and other memorials to the dead are symbolic of the humanity of the departed, and point to specific aspects of the person being remembered. Inscriptions and verses account for some of this individualization of the deceased, but just as frequently we communicate the vocabulary with visual symbols. Our stories have been told in the visual symbolism of tombstone markers for as long as markers have been made. Life-oriented depictions such as sea captains, military figures, personalized busts and spiritual symbols such as roses, hands and angels all impact our emotions in deep ways.
“Tombs are the clothes of the dead. A grave is but a plain suit, and a rich monument is one embroidered.” – Thomas Fuller
Should you choose to bury your loved one elsewhere, or to scatter his or her cremated remains at a site of personal significance, you still may elect to honor his or her life with a cenotaph monument at Bellefontaine. A cenotaph provides a location for present and future generation to gather in memory of the deceased, establishes a spiritual or emotional site of remembrance, and insures that their name and record of their life will always be maintained.
Cenotaphs may be designed specifically for your loved one, in the manner of a custom monument at a gravesite or niche.
Our funeral flowers tribute program provides the opportunity to honor your loved one with ever-changing floral arrangements. Our staff will place a beautifully arranged seasonal bouquet, at the location of your loved one’s final resting place, season after season, including a fresh evergreen wreath with a red bow during the winter holidays. An acknowledgement, with the name of the one you are honoring, will be sent to you when each arrangement is delivered.
Click here to download and print the order form. Return the completed form by fax or mail. You may alternately choose to order funeral flowers directly through our partnership with Walter Knoll Florist, by clicking here.