State Old Insane and Penal Cemetery

Columbus, Ohio

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The State Old Insane and Penal Cemetery is located at the end of a dirt driveway near the intersection of Harper Road and McKinley Road in Columbus, Ohio (Franklin Township, Franklin County). You can see the cemetery to the south when driving east on I-70, before the Broad Street exit.

The State Old Insane and Penal Cemetery is no longer active. It was a burial ground for patients of the State Institute for the Feebleminded (the old name for the former Columbus Mental Hospital) and inmates who died at the Ohio Penitentiary. The oldest graves are the ones from the mental hospital; they are all arranged in a circle around the white marker. All the other gravestones belong to the Pen inmates.

no trespassing

Be'll have to get permission or risk trespassing to visit this cemetery. I'm not sure who owns the land the cemetery is located on, so I didn't get permission...and luckily I wasn't caught. There's no way to get to the cemetery without being seen - the dirt driveway runs parallel to I-70 and you're very visible to all the cars driving on the interstate. Not only do you need to be concerned about trespassing, but you definitely shouldn't visit this cemetery alone...especially at night. There are homeless people living in the woods that border it - we saw their tents, cardboard homes, etc. so this isn't just a rumor meant to scare you from visiting. Should you choose to visit this cemetery, be very careful.

A quick update: In February 2006 I received an e-mail from Marc H. regarding this cemetery. He told me there are now signs posted showing it to be property of the State of Ohio.

This is one of the most interesting cemeteries I've visited in Central Ohio. I had been wanting to visit this cemetery for over a year. I'm not sure why (maybe it was my frequent whining/hinting), but one day in August 2004 my friend/coworker Mark suggested visiting it! I was so excited! I wasn't so excited about the mud incident though. What's the mud incident? Well, there are big grooves in the driveway leading to the cemetery as a result of the big trucks and other construction equipment that use the road. When Mark and I visited, these grooves were filled with muddy water. We were able to walk around some of the puddles, but we weren't able to walk around the largest one. Mark didn't want to get his shoes dirty, so he threw a piece of asphalt into the puddle to step on. I didn't see how that would help much, so I decided to carefully walk across the shallow parts. Well, about the time I was to the middle of the puddle, Mark yelled "watch out" and threw another piece of asphalt into the water. It didn't hit me, but little splashes of mud covered my jeans. Mark laughed and laughed and laughed. I, however, didn't find it quite as humorous at the time! It does make a good story for the site though :)

To see my photos of the other Columbus Mental Hospital Cemeteries, click here.

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