Unmarked Graves + a Sad History of Colorado’s State Insane Asylum
Mental health facilities often have a tendency to be attached to a grim part of our nation's history. We hear tales of places like Waverly Hills Sanitorium and the countless deaths that accompanied widespread polio, tales of the infancy of lobotomization that effectively ruined countless lives, as well as numerous accounts of patient abuse in mental health facilities over the course of many years.
However, our own mental health institution in Colorado also has a grim past, and one aspect in particular that we're going to revisit today; the unmarked graves that were once placed around the property that became the final resting places of many mentally ill Coloradans.
The Early Years of Colorado's State Insane Asylum
What we now know as the Colorado Mental Health Institute located at 1600 W 24th St, Pueblo, CO 81003, was first constructed back in 1883 and had a much less politically correct name.
The hospital was created to house and treat mentally ill patients from Colorado's Front Range, namely places like Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver, but overcrowding quickly became a problem for the institution.
It was in 1992 that an expansion uncovered a grim reminder of the hospital's past - unmarked graves believed to be the final resting places of 135 deceased patients.
Unmarked Graves at Colorado's Mental Health Institute
The graves that were discovered over a century after the hospital opened were believed to be the final resting place of patients that passed away at the institute in the late 1800s.
While it's believed that over 500 patients passed away around that period of time, 155 of them were discovered in unmarked graves back in 1992, leaving questions unanswered regarding the whereabouts of hundreds of remains of former patients and their final resting places.