Love and Outrage: 1931 State Hospital Cemetery Restoration, Longview State Hospital Ohio

Apr 16, 2021

This is the fourth entry for my Love and Outrage project. This is a 4 minute silent film from 1931.  It depicts the dedication of a new monument at the "patient cemetery" at Longview State Hospital. (I still argue that once in the ground we are finally not patients).

I have detailed my extensive work on abandoned "patient" cemeteries across the U.S. in this short documentary and on this really old website.  The typical custom was to mark graves with numbers, not names and even to segregate markers by assigned sex, "race" and religion.

What's striking about this silent film from 1931 is the fanfare with which a new monument is dedicated at the cemetery. The monument was created by the Occupational Therapy Department which means some patients had a role in making it. There's a high school marching band. There are clergy. There's a wreath laying which is conducted by patients. Lots of folks from the community are there making a procession to the cemetery. 

I'm not quite sure what to make of it all.  The one thought that comes to mind is WW1 was still fresh in 1931, and some vets probably were at the state hospital.  Perhaps local families of mourning vets on Memorial Day wanted to bring dignity to the cemetery?

What are your thoughts about this silent film from 1931?