We are often asked about what it means to be a non-profit and non-sectarian cemetery. Essentially this means that all revenues are used for the operation, maintenance and improvement of Maple Grove. Our revenues come from the sale of Interment Space, Interment Services, and Merchandise such as Burial Vaults and Permanent Memorials (grave markers and monuments). To address general overall maintenance the cemetery is permitted to spend interest income from the cemetery's state-monitored Permanent Care Fund. Special fundraising is used for special projects of public interest. You may ask if Maple Grove receives or pays referral fees to Funeral Directors. The answer is no. Our board of directors are volunteers. We are operated as a 501(c)(13) cemetery organization and pay all customary taxes. Income tax and real estate tax are exceptions. Maple Grove has always operated as a non-sectarian cemetery serving all faiths. Nonetheless, churches have established special informal areas for their congregations. These attributes set us apart from other local cemeteries.
For-profit cemeteries are, of course, operated to make a profit for owners or stockholders. Most of Wichita's larger cemeteries are corporate profit centers which rely upon aggressive pre-need selling to be profitable. The work is executed by commissioned sales management and staff. The big corporations prefer to purchase Mortuary/Cemetery combinations in order to consolidate operations and maximize profits. Municipal or township cemeteries, on the other hand, are operated out of necessity by the local government. They are exempt from state permanent care trusting requirements. These small cemeteries rarely engage in the sale of vaults and markers leaving that to the funeral directors. Their only source of revenue is what is collected for grave space and opening and closing the grave; the local taxpayer picks up the rest of the tab for maintenance. Often these cemeteries began life as a church-related cemetery. Sedgwick County alone contains about forty such cemeteries. Locating records and other information about these cemeteries can prove problematic.
Of related interest: Places of Repose: Early Cemeteries of Wichita
Cemeteries as we know them today are a product of the industrial age and the 19th century. The growth of urban society and rise of secularism led to the abandonment of the church yard as a place of burial. During this time, throughout the western world, cemeteries were designed as beautiful and consoling garden environments located on the outskirts of cities. The proliferation of new modern cemeteries resulted in the development of professional cemetery management, entrepreneurial sales and the discipline of Landscape Architecture.
Maple Grove Cemetery was laid out across the street from the city's first cemetery, now known as Highland Cemetery (est. 1870). Highland's location was the logical site for the city's first cemetery as it was the highest point visible from the river valley. Soon Highland Cemetery was considered old-fashioned in that is was not well-planned or professionally managed. Highland's form merely followed its function as a common burial ground with plain lots, each containing twelve grave spaces, laid out in straight rows and little regulation of what could be done in terms of landscape, maintenance and memorials. Many families moved gravesites from Highland to the new Maple Grove Cemetery when it opened.
Founded in 1888 by A.A. Hyde and other leading citizens, Maple Grove was designed to be the "finest cemetery between the Mississippi River and the Rockies." The garden plan by renowned landscape architect Albert Ellis called for wide and winding avenues complementing the land's rolling contours and waterways. Various lots and walkways were to be platted in asymmetrical fashion for more naturalistic vistas. Through the great effort of workers who hauled water by hand from the cemetery's creek, trees were planted on the once grassy sheep pasture. Special lots were donated by the cemetery to groups such as the Masonic Home, The Children's Home and the Grand Army of the Republic. Many area churches claimed their own areas. This was the Victorian era when sentimentality was considered a virtue and a modern cemetery like Maple Grove an important ornament to any community.
A variety of landscapes now exist on the sixty acres that make up this sacred site from wooded hilltops where many fine old Victorian Monuments stand to open pastoral areas where more modern and unobtrusive lawn level memorials are common. Of these sixty acres roughly two-thirds are developed, leaving ample land resources to provide for future generations during the next century and beyond. The grounds of Maple Grove are considered by many to be the most beautiful outdoor sanctuary in Wichita.
The Maple Grove Cemetery Organization has served more Wichita families than any other cemetery organization in Sedgwick County. Maple Grove currently serves as the final resting place for more than twenty-four thousand citizens. The cemetery has been locally operated on a continuous, full-service basis for one hundred and ten years. The cemetery organization is non-profit; this means that all proceeds go toward operation, maintenance and improvement. Proceeds are not given out as profits to owners or stockholders. The cemetery is non-sectarian, serving all faiths. The Maple Grove organization is dedicated to providing dignified service at reasonable cost and to prudent stewardship of the cemetery as a monument to our community.
As well as offering our community comprehensive cemetery services and merchandise Maple Grove also offers many other services including
Please call the cemetery office for further details.
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