HAVERHILL — The Linwood Cemetery is in the process of expanding. But not in a way you might think.
Trustees of the historic pre-Civil War cemetery say the growing popularity of cremation led them to want to provide a place where urns can be safely kept forever. A place where loved ones can visit and where future generations can pause to remember those family members who came before them.
Construction of a roughly 120-foot long granite wall just inside the cemetery’s main entrance off Mill Street is underway and work should be complete by this winter, with a planned opening early next year.
”More and more people these days are being cremated and want a place where they can have their name in perpetuity,” said David Splaine, president of the board of trustees of the Proprietors of Linwood Cemetery. “They may want to have some of their ashes scattered, and some folks will take a small amount to a favorite place, such as the beach or at several different places, and sometimes there are ashes remaining. They’ll buy a niche, a place to put the ashes that will be there forever.”
Splaine said this will be the first structure of its kind in the Greater Haverhill area.
The structure will serve as a repository with about 1,100 niches in single and double urn sizes. Somewhat similar in design to safe deposit boxes, each niche will have a one-foot square granite plate affixed to its front and inscribed with the name or names of the deceased, cemetery trustees said.
“What we’re doing is responding to increasing demand for cremations,” Splaine said. “We have limited space at Linwood for traditional lot burials, which require real estate. While we do have additional lots available, by building a stone wall with niches in it we’re able to increase the number of people we can bury in the cemetery.”