For hundreds of years, people with psychiatric, neurological, and medical conditions
were often removed from society, sometimes for a lifetime. In Toledo, many were
sent to the state hospital to live out their days. From 1888 until 1973, those who
died and weren’t claimed were buried in one of two cemeteries. 1,994 people who had
been forgotten in life were also forgotten in death, buried in graves identified
by small concrete blocks marked only with the number of their burial.
Even these anonymous grave markers were eventually lost underground after decades
of neglect. The city grew up around the cemeteries, and the people buried there were
forgotten. The Toledo State Hospital Cemeteries became a visible reminder of how
society shunned people with disabilities until the late 20th century.
In 2005, The Toledo State Hospital Cemetery Reclamation Project (TSHCRP), under the
auspices of NAMI of Greater Toledo. TSHCRP began working in cooperation with the
University of Toledo (the owner of the properties which contain the cemeteries) and
Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital (previously known as Toledo State Hospital).
to restore the two cemeteries and proclaim the honor due the people buried there.
Grave markers are being located and raised above ground, monuments and a bench have
been installed followed by a footpath in the near future, and families are finding
their lost ancestors.
This site provides historic and genealogic information to all those interested in
hospital and cemetery history.
We would love to hear from you at email@example.com if you have information,
photos, artifacts, stories, are researching family members, or are interested in
volunteering or donating toward this worthwhile project.
Photo: Toledo State Hospital Old Cemetery from Arlington Avenue
"The character of a culture is judged by the way it treats its lame, its halt and
its disabled." Margaret Mead [ Robinault, ‘Sex, Society and the Disabled’ (1978)]
TSHCRP is a grass roots organization that welcomes donations to support our efforts
to restore the State Hospital cemeteries. Tax deductible donations can be made to
NAMI of Greater Toledo. For more details see our Donating page.
At last, the trees on the eastern side of the old cemetery have been taken down and
the area mostly cleared. A workday was held on August 5 with a group from Cornerstone
Church, who we tank for their help with the project. Click here for details of the
The next part of the project is to clear and level the ground where the trees were
removed and install a pathway running to the right of the trees shown in the lower
If you are interested in donating time, money or equipment to help us with this project,
please contact us. Remember, we are part of a 501(c)3 organization.
If you would like to donate time or equipment to help us complete this transformation
and raise awareness of the state hospital in the process, please contact us.