About The Toledo State Hospital Cemeteries
Between 1888 and 1973, nearly 2000 people who died at Toledo State Hospital without family or friends to care for their remains, were buried at on hospital property. Because of stigma their identity was shielded even in death. They were buried in simple wood coffins with only a numbered cement brick to mark their grave.
The cemeteries were never a priority and soon forgotten. By 1922, the first hospital cemetery, now called the Toledo State Hospital Old Cemetery was out of room. A second cemetery, now called the Toledo State Hospital New Cemetery, was started behind the pig barn. The Toledo State Hospital Old Cemetery was forgotten and became the path to the hospital dump on the banks of Swan Creek.
As the years went by many of the coffins collapsed and the numbered bricks sank into the earth. By 1973 other arrangements for burial of the forgotten were made, and the Toledo State Hospital New Cemetery was also closed and abandoned.
Over time the Toledo State Hospital property changed hands. Now most of the cemetery property is owned by the University of Toledo, with a small strip on the property of E.L. Bowsher High School.
It is important to understand that most patient's remains were claimed by families and friends and buried elsewhere. We are happy to help you with the search for burial locations of those who died at Toledo State Hospital.
Sunshine Cemetery was located nearby, on the other side of Detroit Avenue, on the Lucas County Infirmary grounds, This cemetery was unrelated to the TSH Cemeteries, but is often mistakenly identified as being a State Hospital cemetery. This served as a cemetery for infirmary patients, and it was also a potter's field for Lucas County and Toledo. This was a place where families who could not afford a burial could bury their dead for free. Burials in Sunshine Cemetery were stopped in 1948 by the Lucas County Board of Commissioners. In 1985, Sunshine Cemetery was removed, and close to 4,o00 bodies were reinterred to Forest Cemetery in Toledo. No burial records exist, although some information is available in death records, and in the infirmary records. Archeology records of the exhumation are available through the Canaday Center at the University of Toledo. Although this cemetery was not part of Toledo State Hospital patients were often moved back and forth between institutions.
Since infirmary patients have a lot in common with Toledo State hospital patients, we are happy to assist with the search for those people as well.
Who is Buried in the Cemetery?
Among those buried in the cemetery, there were 13 infants and children, at least 86 veterans, and untold numbers of parents, sons, and daughters. There are several family groups and sets of married couples. Over a quarter were immigrants, who died far from home.
We have been researching those buried in the cemetery for over 12 years, in hope of finding the identity and basic information that will make it possible to reconnect them to their families.
To the best of our knowledge, the burial log contains a complete listing of those buried in the cemetery. Occasionally we find a death certificate that indicates the person was buried in the Toledo State Hospital Cemeteries when they were not. In these cases we have always been able to find another burial location or indication that the remains were removed.
Locating a Grave in the
Toledo State Hospital Cemeteries
Careful study of the burial log revealed that patients were buried approximately in chronological order. As markers were unearthed, they also revealed a chronological pattern. Only a third of the markers have been found in the Old Cemetery, so it is not possible to pinpoint the exact location of burials in that cemetery, but work is underway to predict the locations of burials between the markers that have been found. Most of the markers have been found in the New Cemetery, so we do know with reasonable certainty where people were buried after 1923. Once your find the grave number, you can find the location on the Grave Marker maps. Visit the cemeteries