Bringing Their Stones Home

A plan to return misplaced headstones to the Dane County Hospital & Home Cemetery.

Volunteer days:  Our next volunteer dig day will be in Spring.  Email if you'd like to help, thanks!

Residents and Staff of the Dane County Hospital and Home in Verona, WI, 1917.

In a small plot of land east of downtown Verona lie the remains of 400 people who spent their last days in the care of the Dane County Hospital and Home between 1883 and 1945.  The Hospital and Home was a safety net that cared for patients suffering from physical or mental illness, the poor, the elderly, orphans and broken families.

Their graves were originally marked with small, individual monuments – all of which were discarded in the 1950s. 

Today a plaque from 1993 marks the site - but names and headstones are absent.

Recently, approximately 70 of the original headstones have been rediscovered at the former residence of a past hospital employee who reused them for landscaping after they were discarded.

The family living there and the Verona Area Historical Society feel that returning the stones and listing the burials’ names on site would is a great way to show respect for their memory.

The Plan

The plan currently underway involves:

  • Return the remaining headstones to the cemetery grounds, installing them to as close as possible to their original locations (using a 1945 plot map that identified each burial and corresponding stone number, along with several in-ground survey stakes we found that orient the map).
  • Create and install a permanent plaque listing the names of all 400 people buried there.

A 1949 photo shows the cemetery as it looked before stones were removed.
Image Credit:  Vinje, Arthur M. 10/19/1949.  Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The same perspective in early 2018.
Image Credit:  Verona Area Historical Society.

Current Status

UPDATED 9/30/18:  We are up to 48 stones returned!

Volunteers needed:  We are building an email list of people who would be interested in knowing when our volunteer days are to help with digging more holes, moving stones and mulch, and helping install the stones.  If you are interested in volunteering, please let Jesse know at - thank you!

Further Research

Here are a few resources to learn more about the cemetery, and the Dane County Hospital and Home.

  • "Local Project Returning Grave Markers to Old Hospital's Cemetery", a Verona Press article by Jim Ferolie about the project, written in May of 2018.
  • "A Grave Situation", An article written about this cemetery by Melissa Seymour and Jim Ferolie, Verona Press, July 24, 2008.
  • "Dane County Hospital and Home, Verona, Wisconsin" by Walter Kietzke, et al. 1993.  A collection of research related to the Dane County Poor House / Home, Poor Farm, and Asylum/Hospital done by longtime Verona residents in the early 1990s.  This was the group who organized erecting the plaque that still stands on the site today.  Many of them have passed on, and we proudly carry their torch.  Included in this collection are names of people buried in this cemetery and another lost cemetery "A".

Questions or Comments?

Please email us at:  Thank you!