VA dedicates new columbarium at Crown Hill National Cemetery, reopening after six decades
WASHINGTON, July 1, 2022 - The Department of Veterans Affairs dedicated a new columbarium in Indianapolis, Indiana, allowing VA to conduct new interments of Veterans and eligible family members in the city for the first time since 1959.
VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy and VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Matt Quinn unveiled the dedication plaque for the cremains-only expansion to Crown Hill National Cemetery during a July 1 ceremony.
"This new facility will serve as a place of honored repose for Indiana Veterans for the next 100 years or more," Remy said. "We know Hoosiers have served our nation with dedication and courage since before Indiana even entered the union. It is only fitting we recognize their service and sacrifice with a lasting memorial like that at Crown Hill."
The columbarium, which will cover 15 acres of ground, is expected to serve a population of more than 214,000 Veterans, their spouses and eligible children within a 75-mile radius of Indianapolis. It is an annex to the nearby historic Crown Hill National Cemetery, which opened in 1866 and contains just over 2,000 gravesites on 2.5 acres.
The historic cemetery is located inside the boundaries of the privately-owned Crown Hill Cemetery. It reached full capacity and was closed to most interments in 1959, though subsequent interments of family members in the same gravesite have taken place since then.
Construction on the first phase of the columbarium began June 2021 at a cost of $15.75M and provides more than 3,400 above-ground columbarium niches for inurnments and space for more than 370 memorial plaques. Subsequent phases will be completed in coming decades until the final planned capacity of more than 36,000 niches is reached.
The Crown Hill columbarium is the second to be completed under the National Cemetery Administration’s Urban Initiative program. The program improves access to Veteran burial benefits in certain urban areas through the construction of columbaria based on established criteria.
Photos and video of the dedication can be found on the National Cemetery Administration’s Facebook site.