SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Patients who died at Utah’s first insane asylum were honored with a special granite marker at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

The dedication unfolded the mostly forgotten history of the state’s first insane asylum, and honored the names of some 55 people who died while living there.

Officials said the institution opened in 1871 and operated for 15 years on east –bench property near 1300 South Wasatch Drive, just south of the Bonneville Golf Course.

Amy Barry, cemetery and burials program manager at the Utah Division of State History said, “In the territorial era people who died without known family or without the money to pay for a casket and headstone were wrapped in blankets and buried in vacant cemetery space and record keeping was often spotty.”

“Stranger’s graves,” is the preferred term for those who were buried in unmarked graves, according to Laurie J. Bryant, a writer whose tenacious research led to her compilation of the names of 55 patients of the facility who were buried in unmarked graves.

Bryant spearheaded the memorial effort and considers herself an activist for the mentally ill.

Bryant says she felt compelled to research the names and spearheaded this project because the little people are often forgotten and she likes to help the little people and the big people.

The monument was funded through a $1,500 grant from the state’s cemetery preservation program matched by a $1,500 contribution from Salt Lake Monument Company.

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