CSH CEMETERY PROJECT- Latest News
September 2, 2022: We think the IMPD Mounted Horse Patrol is important and want them to have the space they need, but we also want to see the Central State Hospital cemetery protected from additional disturbances. With no acknowledgment of the cemetery on the site and no assurances that no additional graves will be disturbed, "Indianapolis Police lobby for $1 million to build new home for the mounted patrol unit" from Jenna Watson, Indianapolis Star.
September 2, 2022: "Police horses running out of time to move..." from Sarah Nelson, Indianapolis Star.
August 23, 2023: "IMPD's Mounted Police Unit to leave property by December" from Rafael Sanchez, WRTV. Though they have not shared details of the plan, their new site will be on the northwest corner of the former Central State Hospital grounds near Section I of the Central State Hospital cemetery and the IMPD K-9 Unit Headquarters whose construction in 2020 disturbed the graves of 13 Central State Hospital patients.
August 5, 2022: Today IMHM received word that the grave markers that were back ordered last Fall when the exhumed individuals were reburied are expected to be available soon and that the engraved markers may be placed by the end of September. We hope to have a public memorial ceremony when this happens, and are trying to work with the City to make this possible. Stay tuned.
September 2, 2021: Today the 13 individuals whose graves and remains were disturbed by the initial digging in CSH Section I were reburied in an area near Section II of the hospital's cemetery on the west side of Tibbs Ave. Archaeologists surveyed the area prior to digging the graves to ensure that no unmarked graves would be disturbed in the process. Each individual was respectfully buried in a separate vault, and the locations of each were recorded using GPS. There is currently a shortage of the stone grave markers that will be placed to mark each grave, but those will be added at a later date as soon as they are available.
DHPA explained that the laws that would make these actions illegal for most property owners do not apply to the City and certain other exempted entities. Because the land on which the cemetery sits is owned by the City of Indianapolis’ Department of Metropolitan Development and leased to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, we have been advised that nothing can be done to hold either party accountable or to prevent this from happening again.
DNR has not issued an official statement, but questions and concerns about this incident or about cemetery laws, what they mean, and to whom or what entities they apply can be directed to DHPA Director Beth McCord at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 13, 2021: Tune in to Hoosier History Live at noon to hear IMHM Executive Director Sarah Halter talk with host Nelson Price about new projects and all of the exciting things happening at the Museum, especially updates on our cemetery project and other efforts to "rehumanize" and memorialize the patients who lived and sometimes died at Central State Hospital.
December 1, 2020: "Uncertainty For Graves At Central State Hospital Site" Taylor Bennett, WFYI
December 1, 2020: "Dehumanization, Dignity, and Development: Contemporary Cemetery Preservation" by Paul Mullins on his blog Archaeology and Material Culture
November 29, 2020: Letter to the Editor "IMPD showed disrespect in disturbing Central State gravesite" Dorothy Pratt, PhD, Indianapolis Star
November 27, 2020: The IMHM Board sent letters to Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and head of the IMPD K9 Unit Lt. Robert Stradling urging them to work with us to ensure the future preservation of the CSH Cemetery.
November 25, 2020: "Utility work for new IMPD K-9 facility unearths human remains" Mary Milz, WTHR
November 25, 2020: "Human remains at Central State 'mangled' in IMPD facility construction, museum says" Indianapolis Star
November 25, 2020: "Central State Human Remains 'Mangled' by Police Construction" US News & World Report
November 25, 2020: "Central State Human Remains 'Mangled' by Police Construction" Associated Press
November 24, 2020: We have a heartbreaking update to share about recent incidents in the Central State Hospital Cemetery, Section I. Click here to read the update.
September 26, 2020: "Indiana museum traces shuttered mental hospital’s unmarked graves" North State Journal
September 22, 2020: "Indiana Medical History Museum, Ball State team up on patient burials" video, the Indianapolis Star
September 19, 2020: "Remembering the forgotten: Museum enumerates Central State Hospital's unmarked graves" Jordan Erb, the Indianapolis Star
September 3, 2020: "Indiana Medical History Museum Working To Identify Those Buried In Central State Cemetery" Jill Ditmire, WFYI
February 3, 2020: We've launched a crowdfunding campaign in partnership with Ball State University to fund the needed ground-penetrating radar in the cemetery. Working with the archaeologists at BSU's Applied Anthropology Laboratories, we can identify where the burials are in the cemetery and determine the boundaries of the cemetery, which are suspected but not known.