360Dixon Developmental Center Cemetery Updates
- Nov 5, 2008I was in Dixon (Illinois) a few days ago and checked up on the Dixon
Developmental Center Cemetery.
Dixon Developmental Center had many names during its time that it was
open -- Dixon State School, etc, but essentially it was where
Illinois institutionalized children with disabilities (and then they
grew to adults) from the early 1900s until 1983 when it was finally
closed. The facility is now a prison.
A great many children (and adults) with disabilities died here and
were unclaimed by their families. Over 1000 by 1940 by the numbering
The graves through the 1940s appear to be fairly well maintained and
legible, with very cheap institutional markers for most. These are
upright markers and therefore still can be read. Sometime in the 50s?
they changed to flat markers that are almost all sunken into the
ground or seriously overgrown. It will take a rescue effort soon to
Addionally, no dirt has been added to support sinking graves or other
usual cemetery maintenance. Some rows are falling over for this
I photographed around 100 stones but had to stop -- I had my own
child with a serious disability with me, ironically.
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