May 072013
 

NoC interviews Phil Tkacz

Eastern State Hospital Cemetery. Photo by Danny Mayer.

Eastern State Hospital Cemetery. Photo by Danny Mayer.

North of Center sat down with Eastern State Hospital Cemetery Preservation Project president Phil Tkacz to get an update on the mass graves that have been found over the years around the grounds of Eastern State Hospital (soon to become the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Newtown Pike campus) .  On May 14, Tkacz and others will gather to both remember and properly re-bury the remains of a number of the hospital’s former patients.

North of Center: In December 2010, Bruce Burris published an article in North of Center on your attempts to draw public awareness and recognition to a mass grave discovered on the back side of the Eastern State Hospital lot. Bruce described the site as a “tiny spot, not much larger than a typical middle class backyard, [that] contains the remains of between 4,000 and 7,000 people — mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, politicians, shopkeepers, farmers…humans.” He also noted that “these numbers do not include the remains of the many thousands more we believe to be scattered throughout the original ESH property.” Can you update us on what new things you have found since then? Continue reading »

Jan 192011
 

In our last issue, Bruce Burris’s article “Tomb of the Unknowns,” which detailed the struggle to access cemetery records at Eastern State Hospital, generated a lot of reader response. We here reproduce some of these responses. Many detail the frustrating efforts to generate information about deceased loved ones who may (or may not) be buried on the site of Eastern State. Continue reading »

Dec 082010
 

Eastern State Hospital and Kentucky State Archives blocking access to death and burial records for ESH cemetery

By Bruce Burris

Founder, Eastern State Hospital Cemetery Preservation Project

Eight summers ago, directly behind the Hope Center, on Eastern State Hospital (ESH) property, I blundered onto a small wildly overgrown space surrounded by a broken chain link fence. I knew it to be a cemetery only because a man mowing grass on a property nearby allowed that it was when I asked. He also mentioned that he thought there were over 2,000 people buried there, a number that was beyond my ability to really grasp. Somewhat ironically, I was only there in the first place because I was searching for an appropriate space to start a community garden.

Since that day, it has been established that this tiny spot, not much larger than a typical middle class backyard, contains the remains of between 4,000 and 7,000 people — mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, politicians, shopkeepers, farmers … humans. Further, these numbers do not include the remains of the many thousands more we believe to be scattered throughout the original ESH property. Continue reading »