Niles History Center and Friends of Silverbrook team up for cemetery tour

On October 21 at 10:00 am, the Niles History Center is teaming up with the Friends of Silverbrook to offer cemetery tours. Learn about historical people and famous folks who played an important role in the history of Niles, including Orville Coolidge, John Gipner and Ella Champion. Several individuals who were instrumental in the business and industrial development of the city, such as Carmi Smith, former mayor and real estate developer, and Kawneer founder Francis Plym are interred here as well.

This year’s tour will place special emphasis on the Garden of Memory. Attendees will walk through the 1930s addition to the cemetery with special stops at the Chime Tower and Silverbrook Abbey. The Silverbrook Abbey was built in 1926 and serves as the final resting place for many area residents, including well-known optician, Dr. Fred Bonine and William Harrah, a co-founder of National Standard. The tour is free but donations are appreciated and will benefit the Friends of Silverbrook and the History Center. Reservations are recommended as tour space is limited. Please call 269-845-4054 to register.

Please check the Niles History Center's website,, for more information or call 269-845-4054. The Niles History Center is located at 508 E. Main Street, Niles, MI. To receive first notice of upcoming programs and events, consider becoming a member of the History Center.

High Winds Down Tree in Cemetery

High Winds Downs Tree

The March 1st tornado and winds hitting the east side of Niles also caused a large pine tree along Silverbrook Creek to fall in our cemetery.  It was located on Hamilton Drive, which is the main roadway into the cemetery, crossing the creek.  The tree was on the left hand side of the road.  Cemetery employees have removed the downed tree. 

Memorial Day Flower Event at Silverbrook

Phil Huributt and Peg Maiers from The Flower Cart

This year, Silverbrook Cemetery was pleased to have Phil Hurlbutt and Peg Maiers from The Flower Cart join the American Legion Post 26 Memorial Day Ceremony in front of the Mausoleum at Silverbrook, representing The Memorial Day Flower Fund, a new nationwide program which donates red roses to cemeteries across the nation for families to place a free red rose on a Veteran's grave. Across the United States, 300 retailers and organizations participated in and donated to the Memorial Day Flower Event. The City of Niles, The Friends of Silverbrook, and all local citizens who attended would like to thank Phil and Peg for bringing this new program to Silverbrook Cemetery. The red roses were beautiful, and meaningful for all the families who participated in this year's ceremony. This year at Arlington National Cemetery, 200 volunteers handed out and placed 140,000 roses on graves in Arlington, VA. What a nice gesture to honor our Veterans.

Click here to see more photos from Memorial Day 2016 at Silverbrook Cemetery.

City Council Approves Columbarium at Silverbrook!

Exciting news!!! See Niles Daily Star article re July 15 City Council Actions!

Niles prohibits parking on portion of Broadway Street

Niles Daily Star, Published 9:13am Wednesday, July 15, 2015 

After a trial run, the Niles City Council voted unanimously on Monday to permanently prohibit parking on a portion of Broadway Street in order to improve traffic flow and the mobility of emergency service vehicles.

Parking is no longer allowed on Broadway Street between Fifth and Seventh streets.

Originally open to parking, the council approved a temporary traffic order prohibiting parking to that portion of Broadway Street in September of 2014 in order to facilitate traffic movement during construction of the new Main Street Bridge.

City staff determined that the parking ban was beneficial to everyday traffic movement, including fire and ambulance vehicles, during the temporary traffic order period.

Administrator Ric Huff and Public Works Director Joe Ray recommended that the council make it permanent.

Also Monday, the council:

• Scheduled a public hearing for 5:50 p.m. Aug. 10 to receive input from the community on the proposed 2016 budget.

• Approved a request by the parks and recreation board to sponsor the Niles Trails & Ales event in Riverfront Park July 31 to Aug. 2.

• Approved a request from the chamber of commerce to hold a craft beer and wine festival from 2 to 10 p.m. Aug. 1 in Riverfront Park.

• Approved a request from the Berrien County Cancer Service to hold a 5K fun run and walk on Second Street and in Plym Park beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.

Accepted a proposal of $12,246 from Coldspring Memorial, of Coldspring, Minnesota, to supply a 48-niche columbarium to Silverbrook Cemetery. The council also authorized additional spending of up to $7,000 if necessary.

Niles officials are discussing the possibility of installing a columbarium at Silverbrook Cemetery.

Niles mulls adding columbarium to Silverbrook Cemetery

Published 9:37am Thursday, June 11, 2015


Niles officials are discussing the possibility of installing a columbarium at Silverbrook Cemetery.

A columbarium is a place for storing a deceased person’s cremated remains.

The city-owned cemetery currently does not have a columbarium — a feature city officials and one funeral industry leader say is becoming more and more popular.

At Monday’s meeting of the Niles City Council, Ted Halbritter, owner of Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles, spoke in favor of placing a columbarium feature at Silverbrook.

He said cremation accounts for about 40 percent of final dispositions in Michigan and he expects that number to continue to rise.

“There definitely is an increase in cremation rates,” he said. “I would lend my support tothis project.”

Joe Ray, the city’s director of public works, said other area cemeteries in Buchanan, Berrien Springs and St. Joseph have had success installing columbariums.

He said it would cost about $20,000 to put in the first columbarium and that the city could make about $30,000 if it is filled.

If the project works, Ray said the city could install more.

The feature would be located along the north side of the creek that runs through the middle of the cemetery.

The council is expected to take action on the columbarium at its next meeting June 22.