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Volunteers Clean Frankfort State Hospital and School Cemetery

May 23, 2013 Leave a comment

On Thursday, forty volunteers cleaned up the cemetery at the Frankfort State Hospital and School or formerly known as the Kentucky Institution for Feeble Minded Children.

Jeff Edwards, federal program coordinator with Kentucky Protection and Advocacy, said the event was about remembrance more than anything. That’s because most people don’t know about those who are buried in the cemetery, which had been mostly abandoned. The volunteers were members of several groups, including the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.

“This is a piece of Kentucky history that no one remembers,” he said. “We know very little about the people who lived here.”

Edwards said 371 of the 411 graves are marked as “unknown” at the cemetery, which is at the intersection of Glenns Creek Road and Cold Harbor Drive.

The hospital and school, formally known as the Kentucky Institute for the Feeble-Minded, opened in 1860 as a place for the disabled. Edwards said the Legislative Research Commission had heard reports of horrible conditions and initiated reforms. Thousands of Kentuckians had stayed there before it closed in 1972.

Mark Newton, of Campbellsville, lived in the institution when he was about 12 years old. He does not have fond memories of the facility. Newton said living there was “not fun at all.” He was in one of the first groups taken out of the home when it was closed.

Heather Bava, who helps Newton with budgeting and grocery shopping, became involved with the cleanup through Newton, but said the cleanup was important because it honored the dead. Bava said it could have easily been Newton who ended up in one of the graves.

“They had a horrible, horrible life,” she said. “It’s really sad to think people were treated this way.”

Christina Bowman, of McKee, also became involved with the event through a woman she helps daily.

“I know if it was me personally, I’d want someone to come out here and clean my grave for me and try to remember me,” she said.

Original article

Group Wants to Show Respect for Patients Buried at Willard

June 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Colleen Kelly Spellecy runs the Willard Cemetery Memorial Project at Willard State Hospital in which 5,776 patients are buried. They would like to create a burial register, clean the meadow and erect four granite markers in the lot with the names of the dead buried there.

Craig Williams of the New York State Museum, will give a presentation on Willard State Hospital at Hadley Hall, on the grounds of the hospital from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on July 23, He will show items from the Willard suitcase exhibit. Colleen Kelly Spellecy is scheduled to talk about her memorial project at noon, Aug. 30, before the Seneca Falls Rotary Club, at Waterloo Holiday Inn.

Original article

Patient Remains From Foxboro State Hospital to be Moved

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The century-old remains of a former Foxboro State Hospital patient in a solitary grave behind the hospital will soon be moved to the State Hospital Cemetery on Cross Street. A committal service for the unknown deceased will take place October 2nd at 11 a.m. – the public is invited to attend.

Original article

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