What are the principal types of cemeteries, and how do they differ?
Cemeteries usually are divided into two broad categories: traditional cemeteries and memorial parks or gardens. A traditional cemetery, the type used for many generations, has upright monuments, usually made of stone. Many traditional cemeteries also have private mausoleums for above-ground interment. Because many have functioned in their communities for over 100 years, traditional cemeteries typically contain a great deal of history, such as architecture, statuary and other art, as well as the personages interred there. They often feature lush landscaping and impressive greenery.
Memorial parks and gardens are a newer type of cemetery introduced about 75 years ago. They are cemeteries without tombstones: parks and gardens where bronze memorials are placed level with the ground to blend with the beauty of the landscape. They often feature expansive lawns with a variety of trees, flowering beds and gardens, as well as fountains, sculpture or memorial architecture.
Some cemeteries have both traditional upright monument sections and garden sections. Both types of cemeteries may offer above-ground interment in community mausoleums. Both traditional cemeteries and memorial parks may be operated on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis. They may be owned by an individual or by a corporation. Some are owned mutually, and many are the property of towns, counties and religious or fraternal groups. Both may have chapels, crematories, community mausoleums, mortuaries or funeral homes and columbariums.