If you look up this cemetery on Google Maps, you’ll likely find 3 different locations represented. The one we are looking at today is adjacent to the City of Columbus Police Aviation complex.
You’ll find it behind the buildings at 2130 West Broad Street, Columbus Ohio. This is in what is known as the Hilltop area.
The Insane Asylum was approved by the state for build in 1835. By 1868, there was a fire there and 6 patients perished in that fire. The new building was ready for opening in 1877.
The original design for the building was setup to accommodate 850 patients. Some reports state that the patient count reached up to some 3000 by 1935.
This cemetery would be the final resting place for those patients that either didn’t have family of the families of the patients didn’t have the money to provide burial services for them after their passing.
A few headstones have names on them, but the vast majority of the stones are just patient serial numbers.
Upon entering the area, you get a sense of calm about it. black fence and gates run the lengths of the perimeter.
The inside of the cemetery appears to be well maintained, with several areas containing benches for sitting and reflecting.
The side and back fences are overgrown with trees in some places.
The front section of stones by the gate are prominent and are the ones that tend to have actual patient names and dates on them. You can see how they stick up out of the ground in the image below. They are uniform in appearance.
Looking at the image below, you may think that the majority of the land here is unused. However, the markers have changed. No longer do they stick out like the above image shows. The yare flush with the ground and about a fourth of the size.
This entire field is filled with those smaller stone markers. You just need to walk up on them to see them as the grass hides them from view until looked at from directly above.
Mental illness has such a stigma attached to it. I think because it is something a lot of people do not understand. The human mind is such a complex thing. We know way less about it than other body systems, yet it is arguably one of the most important.
We all know someone who has a mental illness of some kind, but they often do not share for fear of losing friends or being unfairly ostracized or judged. They just need to be able to tell their story and have the same compassion given to them as any other person with an ailment would.
If you know someone who has an untreated mental illness, try and help them get the care they need.