Calumet Park Cemetery requires that all caskets be placed in a permanent outer burial container as a protection against future grave settling. Over a long period of time, with years of rainfall, cemetery maintenance equipment passing over the grave, and the deterioration of the casket that may take place, depending on the type of casket selected, along with the weight of the earth above the casket, the ground will cave in. This event would cause a cemetery maintenance nightmare, huge esthetic challenges, and emotional pain for the family to know that their grave “caved in” on their loved one. Calumet Park also requires an outer container for the interment of cremains (ashes) or a MacKenzie combination urn/vault (or comparable container that with withstand 5000 pounds of pressure per square foot). Aside from the practical reasons for requiring outer containers mentioned above, it is Calumet Park’s commitment to families served that if they ever wish to have cremains or caskets disinterred to be moved to another location in Calumet Park or elsewhere, that we will be able to return the entire mortal remains or cremains as much as is humanly possible. Note: there is not a law to have an outer container but the law allows a cemetery to require one if they deem it fits their business model of serving families.
When the founding fathers of Calumet Park Cemetery sat down and thought out their plans to have the most beautiful cemetery in Northern Indiana way back in 1928 (voted best cemetery in the country in 2018 by American Cemetery and Cremation magazine), they had to make decisions about what type of decorations would be allowed. They recognized the human need to have a connection to those who have passed on, and how that connection sometimes is reflected in items brought to a gravesite. With great wisdom and foresight, it was decided that dignity would outweigh all other concerns, and that the needs of the masses were greater than the needs of the individual, especially due to the sacred trust that the masses have put in the hands of their cemetery owners. Plastics, balloons, teddy bears that get waterlogged and weathered do not contribute to the ambiance of a cemetery. When anything is allowed, that means everything is allowed. If the owner of the grave next to yours would want a Christmas tree decorated with miniature whisky bottles, it would have to be allowed. If the owner on the other side of your grave space wanted to build a wire fence around his lot, or put up plastic palm trees and pink flamingoes on his lot, it would have to be allowed. Instead, Calumet park Cemetery’s decorating rules were based on the needs of all of our property owners to have a dignified, well maintained and esthetically balanced “look” to the place. Since 1929 when the first burial took place to the present, we have been able to provide a place of respite…a place of beauty…a place of peace that offers all of our patrons a quiet oasis in which to reflect and remember their loved one. Anything less would be but a mockery of those who entrusted their loved ones to our care.
: According to Indiana Code 23-14-33-30, perpetual care or endowment care as it is sometimes known, means within the limits permitted by the net income received from the perpetual care fund or endowment care fund required by IC 23-14-22-48 and from other care funds or endowments. Such funds may be spent on the following: maintenance of the cemetery grounds and graves in keeping with a properly maintained cemetery. This includes cutting the grass on cemetery lots at reasonable intervals, raking and cleaning of cemetery lots at reasonable intervals, pruning shrubs and trees, procuring, maintain, and keeping cemetery equipment in workable condition, keeping up repairs and preserving drains, roads, buildings, fences and other structures, including statues and embellishments of a general character applicable to the cemetery as a whole or a particular area. Also allowed under this code is the administration of the cemetery, including the payment of insurance premiums, the payment of pensions and maintain necessary records of lot ownership, burial right ownership, burials, and other necessary information. When used in connection with a mausoleum, columbarium, crematory, or other structure, the term perpetual care means the general upkeep of the structure and the grounds surrounding the structure, the repair, replacement and improvement of the structure, the procuring and maintaining and keeping machinery in reasonable condition, the tools and equipment needed and for the replacement of machinery, tools, and equipment when necessary. Perpetual care does not include re-seeding graves, raising markers, replacing evergreens and bushes (other than those under the one-year warranty when purchased from Calumet Park Cemetery), or watering of flowers, evergreens and bushes.
The standard grave at Calumet Park Cemetery is 42 inches wide by 9 feet long. The normal depth is approximately 6 feet. There must be a minimum of 18 inches from ground level to the top of the outer container or 24 inches from the casket. The height of the outer container helps to determine the total depth of the grave.
Calumet Park does not allow burials on top of existing burials. The State of Indiana has a little known law that stipulates a certain amount of dirt be above a burial; 18” above an outer container or 24” above a casket.
There are special provisions in recent laws regarding this question that are being scrutinized by the owners as of this writing. However, Calumet Park does not have a pet cemetery at this time.
: Cemeteries have done a great job of policing themselves. The Indiana Funeral Director Association puts out a book each year that contains all the laws that cemeteries, funeral homes and crematories must comply with. The 2019 “Book of Facts” contains 257 pages of statutes that also includes the Practice Act, Rules and Regulations, Funeral Declarations, the Preneed Act, The Cremation Act, The Cemetery Act, Fetal Deaths, Public Health Codes, Anatomical Gifts, Welfare Burial, Coroner Code, Funeral Processions, FTC, Veteran Affairs, OSHA/IOSHA, and Tax Labor Laws. Calumet Park does due diligence at all times and does its upmost to be in compliance with all laws pertaining to protecting families from unscrupulous operators in the cemetery and funeral industry. There are times that families feel inconvenienced with such stringent adherence to law, but that is the only way that Calumet Park can function.
The fill in a grave needs time to settle. Usually a short time after a burial, more dirt is brought in to help to level the grave. Depending on the type of soil, it may take two to three additions of dirt and tamping down before a final layer of topsoil and grass is planted. It is a process that requires patience. A look around the cemetery is proof that your individual grave will match the rest of the cemetery and be the way you want it to be. During the winter months, such activity of leveling graves and planting grass is suspended until spring thaws have occurred.