Central State Hospital, Louisville

The state hospital in Louisville opened in 1868 as the “Fourth Kentucky Lunatic Asylum”, later known as the “Central Kentucky Asylum for the Insane” & “Lakeland Asylum”. In the 1980s they moved to a new facility and the old buildings were demolished not long after. The area is now part of the E.P. Sawyer State Park. The cemetery situation there is even more mysterious then at ESH. The number of patients buried there aren’t known, likely over 4,000. The number is probably lower then others since it was in a larger city and more options for public cemetery burials.

Going through death certificates is more difficult then the ones for ESH, but it appears prior to the law in 1911, they never filed anything for those buried on the hospital grounds. The state says they have records but refuse to release any of the names due to unknown state laws. An old article from the Louisville Courier-Journal mentions a man finding several gravestones in a creek adjacent to the cemetery & that the state investigated, took the stones but not much more. To this day, there are only a couple under a tree, who knows what happened to the rest of them!

The names that have headstones with legible names are; W.W. Easley & Florence Annette Markwell. Under the same tree are several headstones that are too broken to read.

Large tree with gravestones under it;

General area of the main cemetery

The second cemetery,aka “strawberry fields” adjacent to the 1st, no stones are in this one and the state failed to survey it in the 1990s

Stone for Florence Markwell, obviously not in the spot where it used to be. Interesting to note part of it was added on top of the original. Her death certificate doesn’t tell much information. At somepoint a relative cared enough to make changes.

W.W. Easley, the other headstone that has managed to survive. He previously was in a public hospital in Springfield, IL according to census records. He died at CSH of unknown causes and was buried in the asylum cemetery. It’s unknown, as others, who paid for his grave marker or where his actual grave is.

This is another example of the state of Kentucky ignoring the graves of former patients and rarely mentioned in the media. Relatives are left with more questions then they started with. All we ask, for the most part, is for the state to come forward with the list of those buried in the cemetery.


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