- Diane Erwin Contributing Writer
A Springfield building that was constructed more than a century ago as the home for a cemetery superintendent now has a new purpose as a place for family and friends to remember the deceased.
Ferncliff Cemetery, Arboretum and Crematory’s new House of Reflections, 705 N. Plum St., will hold a ribbon cutting and open house from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
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The old superintendent’s home, which began construction in 1888, was renovated and refurbished after sitting empty for many years and coming close to being demolished.
The House of Reflections contains 368 spaces for urns in indoor niches of various sizes that can hold single urns or up to four, said Stan Spitler, the cemetery’s superintendent. Granite-fronted niches feature bronze lettering, and glass-fronted niches have frosted lettering and are lit around the clock.
Visitors at the open house can speak to staff members about the house and its history and see other parts of the renovated home.
“We’ve made a 180-degree change to this house,” Spitler said.
The wheelchair-accessible building now includes two restored fireplaces, a meeting room for up to eight family members, a kitchen area where immediate family can gather for a catered-in meal after services and a display room for families to choose products like urns or caskets.
The old stone was restored and old doors remain. Even furniture that dates back to 1930 was restored.
“We kept as much of the old as we could,” Spitler said.
The open house also will include a display about the home and its first superintendent, including photos and the superintendent’s watch, Spitler said.
The addition of the niches marks Ferncliff’s first walk-in facility, he said. The niches not only are a new way to memorialize loved ones, but also will help pay for the home’s renovations, which began in December 2016. More niches will be added upstairs when the originals are sold.
The building was originally designed by famed architect Charles Creager, who was born and raised in Springfield. Creager also designed St. John and St. Raphael churches, as well as the building that is now the Heritage Center of Clark County.