Mendota Memorial Cemetery, also known as Mendota State Hospital Cemetery, was a burial ground for patients who passed away during their stay at the Mendota State Hospital. Situated in a residential neighborhood, the cemetery has no physical borders to mark its boundaries from the surrounding homes. There are fewer than ten marked graves and the actual number of individuals interred there is unknown. This cemetery has been inactive since the 1960s and its only landmark is an engraved stone dedicated to the people buried there.
The cemetery was founded in the same year as the Wisconsin Hospital for the Insane, serving
as a burial ground for patients who passed away who had no family to claim them
or whose families could not afford to have them buried elsewhere. A stone sits
on the ground of the cemetery, bearing the poem: “The journey/from the spirit
world we come/to the spirit world we return/the circle is complete.” The stone
also lists the years 1860-1964 as the period during which the cemetery was
In its first half century of operation, 14,270 patients were
admitted to the Mendota Mental Health Institute. Of those, 1,702 patients
passed away during their time at the hospital. Even though the actual number of burials is
unknown, the Mendota Memorial Cemetery could not hold the remains of all those
individuals as it does not have enough land to accommodate nearly two thousand
graves. Some of the individuals interred here were originally buried in other
locations closer to the Mental Health Institute itself but were later moved to
their current location in the Mendota Memorial Cemetery.