WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2012

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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All Cemeteries Tell Tales Reformatory in 1883, although the nine burials here date from the MCI years. The infants buried in this section are unnamed and probably stillbirths. The latest burial is dated 1963. Small pine trees have begun to reclaim each of the two lots. An iron chain lies on the ground at the entry to one, and the wire fencing hanging from the rusted iron stakes surrounding the second is largely missing. Cemetery at Medfield State, a Retired Mental Hospital The campus of the retired state mental hos- pital in Medfield is quite large and surpris- ingly bucolic. Its cemetery was located as far from the hospital buildings as possible: at least a mile. Placed on a rolling hillside that stretches to the Charles River and bordered by stands of conifers and oaks, the burial grounds could not be prettier. Even the grave markers, flush with the ground, do not spoil the pas- toral effect. But for many years, says Ann Thompson, a Medfield selectwoman, the area was overgrown and littered with dead trees, branches, and weeds. No one went there. Medfield State Hospital opened in 1896 and closed in 2003. Anthony Calo, the acting superintendent from 1975 until 1982, relates that many patients didn't have any visitors for the 30 or more years of their stays. They were just dropped off. It was a shame. Calo explained that upon death, some bodies were donated to medical schools as needed but, despite great efforts to locate next of kin, 1,761 were buried in pauper's graves by the institution. When the hospital buried those unclaimed souls, they placed a cobblestone-sized marker engraved only with four numbers: a patient identifier. No name. Who, after all, would ever visit those graves? The last such burial was as recent as 1988. Only eleven years later, a group of former 100 WellesleyWeston Magazine | fall 2012

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