Side Lake Community Columbarium

The Side Lake Community Columbarium is officially open and available for memorial services, and the Town of French is currently accepting applications for niches. As of August 2023, one-half of the 36 niches in our first Columbarium have already been reserved! The Side Lake Community is excited to have this wonderful addition for those who love this area and want to be laid to rest in this beautiful place. Feel free to drive through and see the Columbarium at 7516 Hwy 5, Side Lake, MN.

If you are wondering what a Columbarium is, here is a brief explanation. A Columbarium is defined as a structure, room, or building with niches for funeral urns. Currently, there are no cemeteries in French Township, and the nearest cemeteries are in Chisholm or Morcom Township. Residents of the Township have been requesting that a cemetery be provided in the Side Lake area for many years. However, due to permits, land restrictions, and cost analysis, this has not been feasible. The Town of French Board has been researching and developing a plan for a Community Columbarium in Side Lake since 2018.

This project began in 2017 with several Side Lake residents circulating a petition to determine if there would be sufficient interest. The favorable response to this inquiry was presented to the Town of French Board of Supervisors in early 2018, and a Columbarium Committee was formed to compile relevant information and data.

After presenting this information at the 2019 Annual Township Meeting, the wheels were set in motion. The St. Louis County Planning Commission approved our Conditional Use Permit in June of 2020, and the Board of Supervisors approved the official Columbarium Guidelines at their July meeting of 2020.

A property on Highway 5, adjacent to the Side Lake Community Center, was donated in 2019 to the Township by Janis Johnson for the Columbarium site. (See pictures below) Janis donated this property in memory of her parents Vern and Irene Nelson, long-time residents of Side Lake. The community of Side Lake is sincerely grateful for the generous gift of this property for use as a final resting place for those with a connection to Side Lake.

The Side Lake Community Columbarium project entered the first phase of its development in July of 2020. We are very excited to be able to offer the opportunity for the public to reserve space right here in Side Lake as an alternative to a cemetery burial.

The first phase of construction included a granite columbarium (pictured at the top) containing 36 interment spaces, called niches, with each niche able to house the cremated remains of two individuals. Over the past several decades, columbaria have become a much-favored method of burial due to the reduced cost, lower maintenance, and more attractive memorial space.

There are various cost options available, which are determined by niche location. Cost of a niche ranges from $600 to $1000, with a discount for French Township property taxpayers. For more information, call the Side Lake Rec Center at 218-254-3297 or email us at

For the latest pictures and to view the most recent updates done at the Columbarium site, click here.

*You can view and print an Information Packet, which includes pricing information, applications, and frequently asked questions, by clicking here.

Below is a diagram showing which niches are currently available. Black boxes indicate unavailable niches.