Ohio Home Cemetery

Delaware, Ohio

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The Ohio Home Cemetery, also known as the Girls Industrial School Cemetery, is located on the grounds of the Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility south of Delaware, Ohio (Concord Township, Delaware County). The cemetery is on private property, so you'll need to get permission to visit or you could be fined/arrested for trespassing. I was able to get permission to visit, I think it'd be extremely difficult to sneak in without getting caught since prison property is very guarded!

Girls Industrial School

Antique postcard, postmarked July 16, 1949.
From my personal collection.

Before the Civil War broke out, the property the current prison is located on was used as a resort for people from the South. They traveled to the resort in the hot summer months to escape the heat. Also, the mineral water located in springs that used to be on the property was good for their health. However, when the Civil War started they were unable to travel north to the resort and it closed. The property stood abandoned for a few years until the state took it over in 1869. They turned the resort into a Girls Industrial School. Girls between the ages of 7-15 who were in trouble (homeless, orphaned, juvenile offenders, prostitutes, etc) from all over the state were sent to live there.

Panoramic view

Panoramic view of cemetery

Today the cemetery is one of the only traces left of the old industrial school. There is also an overgrown stone chimney from one of the resort buildings left. The cemetery is very small, there are only about 47 graves. The gravestones are arranged in circles, which according to an old Appalachian legend is supposed to keep the devil from hiding in the corners. Also, most of the gravestones are small, white state issued stones; there are only two gravestones that are larger family purchased stones. When looking at the dates on the gravestones, you can see some years in which many girls died in spurts. These spurts were due to flu and malaria outbreaks.

Girls Industrial School

Antique postcard.
From my personal collection.

The Correctional Facility has done some work to restore the gravestones, and they are planning to do more. They take excellent care of the cemetery, I can't wait to see what it will look like after future improvements.

Girls Industrial School

Annual Report, Printed 1876.
From my personal collection.

In March 2010, I received an e-mail from Sean about his experiences on the grounds of the former GIS:

I never was unfortunate enough to be in TICO itself, but I was in the Scioto Village complex outside Dublin. While there, guards talked of hearing young girls singing on the grounds when doing rounds at night. Close to where the cemetery is, he said it sounded like they were singing ring around the rosie. There were phone calls made to 911 from buildings that no longer exist on the grounds, and a lot of other weird things. Also, Scioto Village replaced the TCY complex that used to stand next to TICO, and is the only coed juvenile mental institute in the state of Ohio. Girls are housed on one side, and boys on the other. When I was there in the late 1990's, there was one building left from the old institution which was the kitchen...it was probably built in the 60s or 70s. From what I know of the cemetery though, all the graves were from the late 1880s and were the graves of infants that died in the school, or inmates that died there.

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