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On this Memorial Day, I’d like to remember the hundreds of people held in public institutions, sometimes for decades, for being poor or mentally ill, back in the 1800’s. During that time, Rochester had an insane asylum, almshouse, and penitentiary on South Avenue, near Highland, around where the Vietnam memorial is now. When the inmates died, they were buried in unmarked graves on the grounds. This graveyard was forgotten until 1984, when a bulldozer, landscaping the park, uncovered them.
Almost 300 skeletons were removed and re-interred in Mt Hope Cemetery, where a marker now stands.