New York USA
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Once seen, this is a cemetery one never forgets. The cemetery has no sign to identify it and the majority of the estimated 1,200 mental patients buried here are only identified by numbers, no names or dates. One section has rusty metal markers with only numbers on them. Another section has stone or concrete markers with numbers and either crosses for Catholics, wreaths for Protestants, or Stars of David for Jews on them. To make things even more compicated the same numbers are reused in different sections of the cemetery. There are only a few gravestones with names and dates on them.
The Gowanda State Hospital was originally called the Gowanda State Homeopathic Hospital, which opened in 1898. This cemetery is the original cemetery for the institution. The cemetery is located on the east side of Wheater Road near Bagdad Road in Collins, New York, but is not visible from Wheater Road. It is only accessible by a one quarter mile long dirt road, off of Wheater Road, that leads down toward the cemetery and Clear Creek. When the Gowanda Psychiatric Center closed in 1994, the records for the cemetery were supposed to have been transferred to Buffalo. Unfortunately, the records for burials before 1960 were apparently lost.
Since 2008, the Mental Health Association of Cattaraugus County has been working on restoring the cemetery by clearing brush, finding markers and stones, and resetting stones with gravel underneath for stability. They have also planted flowers and a bench was donated by the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.
Note: The newer Gowanda Psychiatric Center Memorial Cemetery is located on Rt.62.
Information provided by: Diana Druback