State of Ohio Asylum for the Insane Cemetery

Columbus, Ohio



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The State of Ohio Asylum for the Insane Cemetery is located behind the former TICO (Training Institute of Central Ohio) building, which was located behind the Ohio Department of Transportation headquarters off West Broad Street (Franklin Township, Franklin County). This is one of the old Columbus Mental Health Hospital cemeteries where they buried indigent patients.

The TICO cemetery is a sad, depressing place. There are 75 headstones with names, all the other gravestones simply contain patient numbers. All but two of the 75 larger gravestones contain a name, age, and date of death. The other two just have one word on them: SPECIMENS. I wonder what's buried under them? Could it be a medical cadaver? Or maybe just parts? It's kind of eerie to think about, but since they engraved a stone for whatever's buried there I think it must be human. I doubt they would have bothered to do that for something non-human.

On my third trip to the cemetery I found the hundreds of small gravestones across the road from the larger ones. These gravestones are about the size of a brick, and the only thing carved on them is a M or F (for male or female) and a patient number. It's so sad to think that all these people are only remembered by a number.

In August 2005, I received the following e-mail from "CityPunk" regarding the Specimen graves:

You wanted to know what was in Tico about specimens: It was kids that were on drugs called Travil 4-50 and they had us on it. Mind Hullisination Drugs: some kids didn't make it and they died and they covered it up after they were raped and beaten and tortured. They fried our brains with their pills that make you forget all that you know... Now you know what specimens are...Kids who had no family...the rest I'm sure you can figure out. I hated that place more than anything you will ever know...look for the offgrounds farm they kept some kids at and you'll find more answers. Most of the kids will tell you what happened, they should be around 35-45 of age now...

In October 2006 I received an e-mail from Renee S. regarding the TICO Cemetery:

I wanted to write you because my friend and I visited TICO this past Sunday (Oct. 8, 2006). She really wanted to see it, so I took her there because I remembered where it was. To my amazement TICO (the huuuuge building) was completely gone! There was no wooden TICO sign, no stone TICO sign, no building, no nothing...it was so creepy, and we visited both during the night and in the day (night time was much creepier and we didn't even make it all the way back to the cemetery).

I was very sad to see TICO had been demolished (I wanted to explore it a little bit) and I have no idea when or why it happened. I am attatching some photos that I took so you can see. I am thinking they demolished it quite a bit ago because grass had already grown back on the site.

Also, on your site you talk about two specimen's graves, but the first time and this 2nd time I went there I only saw ONE specimens grave. I even went up and down every single row looking for the 2nd one and I could not find it. I have no idea if something happened to it or what, but there was only one when I went back.

In December 2006 I received the following e-mail from Kristine C. regarding her trips to the cemetery:

I just wanted to write and let you know a couple of things about the State of Ohio Asylum for the Insane Cemetery. I recently stumbled upon the letter you received from Renee and wanted to let you know that even when my friend and I visited the cemetery in January of 2004, we were unable to locate more than one "specimen" stone, so I think that the second one has been missing for some time. That or my friend and I are more inept than we think. :-)

Also, I noticed that on the other three cemeteries you had put up warnings about getting permission to visit beforehand, but not on this one. My friend and I actually got the chance to visit this cemetery twice, but on our second visit we had been there about fifteen minutes when one of the security guards spotted us while driving around to do his patrolling. It was during the day, probably around three or four. He stopped to talk to us and asked if we had received permission to be there, which we hadn't (we didn't really know how to at the time), so he made sure we left. He even followed us back out to Broad Street just to make sure we didn't just turn around and come back. Of all the other stories I've read of people visiting, I've never seen anyone else get caught, so I just thought you might want to add a little word of caution to that page too. I would think now that the building has been torn down, visitors to this fabulous spot are even more obvious, sadly.

I received an e-mail from Dan regarding TICO in June 2008:

My name is Dan, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I was looking for info on TICO and Buckeye, and came across your page. I was in Buckeye Youth Center for a couple of years, which was at 2280 West Broad Street. It was formerly a hospital, then turned into a youth jail. We would go to TICO to get hair cuts and such when I was younger. TICO was a place for very bad kids. Kids that were pretty much going to be sent to adult reformatories. It was said back in the day that the graveyard was also for kids that were killed in the facility, or kids that had attempted to escape and died on the razor wire and had no real family that would come to claim them. Instead of shipping the bodies back to their home counties, they would bury them there. I remember there was a very old set of buildings that were on the other side of the fence from Buckeye, and they were part of the asylum. I remeber when they knocked them down...so many rats and things would come running toward the fence at us. Very weird. A lot of very bad stuff had happened in Buckeye and TICO, and there was another building on the property called TCY (Training Camp for Youths). We would only see these people on Sundays for church, but TCY had kids that had gender problems, as in boys that thought they were girls. Then there was a building called Cardinal Hall which was for kids who broke parole and had to return for about 6 months. It was like a military style program. Anyways, I had returned to this place around 2000 or so, and I think and everyting was gone and an officer also chased me off. OK, thought I would give my bit of info to ya.

I received an e-mail from an anonymous website visitor regarding TICO in October 2012:

In the late 90's I was doing time at TICO. I witnessed many bad things. I believe they tore it down shortly after I left. I visited the place on my way out of the state. I remember 2130 W.Broad St. Darby cottage as it was my home for over a year. I will not discuss details of the past much. What is done is done. I am pretty sure there are a few other graves that do not have stones. After becoming a "model prisoner" I was taken out in the middle of the night to dig two holes, very large holes. Holes that were large enough to fit a body. Although I did not put a body there and have no physical proof they put bodies in the holes, I can tell you where this was done. It was approximately 14 years ago during October. There was a patrol car/truck that used to circle the facility while we were on recreation. I have seen it often because I was on Feldkamp's softball team. This night I did not see this vehicle for about 4 hours or so and dug as I was instructed. I was the only digger. I was allowed to shower freely after this. I was lonesome, hot, long and relaxing.

I recall being taken beyond the massive rows of razorwire close to the freeway. It was supposed to be a maximum security facility, yet oddly I was out for this "special" occasion. No one on my cottage (DARBY) was missing the following day, but I remember rumors of two other youth being "released" which I thought was a bit odd. Shortly thereafter I was granted parole and released. And shortly after that the place was demolished. I believe it was demolished in 2000 or 2001. All I remember is that I drove by shortly after as I was around the area and the fence was gone and it looked closed. I did this once again and found it was gone.

I have witnessed very bad things. I was part of a few bad unfair beatings, but for the most part I was respected by the staff there and I have to say it was something that really opened my eyes and with that, awarded me many opportunities. If convicted as an adult I probably would have received a probation period and the never ending "trap" sentence making a life one of a life of crime.

I am pretty sure that the two inmates are in those holes. This is the first time I have discussed it. It is in the back of my memory. A part that I do not tap often. Last night was one of those nights.

I'd like to thank Andy at Forgotten Ohio for giving me directions to this cemetery!

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



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