Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Center can accommodate just about any after-death request from green burials to pet cremations.
The group built the first crematory in the state more than a hundred years ago. They have since moved locations to downtown Indianapolis and upgraded their facilities to include large, square, metal incinerators that are loud but are also state of the art.
“It’s the motors, the fans, the filters all of that is running,” Funeral Director for Flanner and Buchanan Shannon Knotts says. “I had a cremation started this morning and what you’re hearing is it cooling down.”
She says the demand for cremation services is growing in the state. Nearly one in four Hoosiers chose to be cremated in 2009, the year with the most recent statistics.
Knotts says some families are even starting to ask if they can watch the cremation.
“Some families just want to be here and see what’s going on,” she says. “Others want to participate, want to close the door or want to start the retort by pressing the button, and we allow them to be as involved as they want to be.”
Rural Communities Resist Rise In Cremations
Most of Indiana is not so quick to pick up on the national trend. The statewide cremation numbers are still lower than the national average and for people in some rural communities, cremation is taboo. Take Paoli for instance. It is a small town in Southern Indiana with fewer than 4,000 residents where the sight and sound of a horse and buggy trotting down the street behind a pick-up truck is not a rare event.
Erica Livingston has worked as a funeral director for several years. At the funeral home, more people have being requesting cremation services, but the nearest crematory is about 30 minutes away. So Livingston decided to open the county’s first one. She says since she announced her plans, many people around the city have spoken up about their own last wishes.