The Hillcrest Hotel today, at the intersection of Madison and 16th.
Toledo’s Lost Cemetery
Follow Ten Mile Creek 12 miles west from downtown Sylvania, and you will find yourself in Toledo, Ohio, where a cemetery from nearly 200 years ago lies beneath the pavement, causing chaos of a paranormal nature to unsuspecting passers-by above.
Toledo Blade, December 7 1900
MADISON STREET CEMETERY
Most Populous Section of Toledo Once a Burying Ground
Were the oldest inhabitants to take to romancing, as some of the pioneer citizens are fond of doing, he might find material for many a good story in the fact that underneath the surface of Madison street, or a portion of it, as well as under some of the abutting property, reposes all that is left of the mortal remains of a goodly number of Toledo’s first settlers.
The ground in question was once a cemetery, and it is presumed that a large number of those older men who settled on the banks of the Maumee previous to 1830, were buried there. A. D. Pelton, M. A. Scott and many others of the older residents remember the cemetery and its subsequent merging into the corporation of Toledo. Just what year the cemetery was abandoned cannot be stated, although it is presumed the musty records of the city clerk’s office, providing records of that period exist, would disclose the date. When Mr. Jessup W. Scott, father of Mr. M.A. Scott, built his house in 1846 between what is now 14th and 15th streets, the cemetery was there, and it is presumed that it was there as late as 1850. Be that as it may, the cemetery was beyond the platted limits of the city. It took in a section of what has since become Madison street, from a point midway between 15th and 16th streets out to 17th street, and extended very nearly across to the present line of Adams street, as well as about half a block south of Madison.
As stated, the city limits had not extended out that far, and what are now Madison and Jefferson streets, were but two or three blocks in length. However, running across that section, in a diagonal line, was what was known as the Territorial road. This road started in at Monroe street somewhere in the neighborhood of 11th or 12th streets, and struck what is now Collingwood avenue not far from the present terminus of Ashland avenue, and the cemetery had a frontage on this road.
But the onward march of the city decreed that the cemetery must go, and go it did. That is, the site was abandoned, but if the presence in the ground of human bones constitutes a cemetery, the spot is a cemetery still. It is said that such of the dead as had relatives living in Toledo at the time of the abandonment were taken up and decently buried in the newly established burial grounds, but that the great majority of the skeletons were unclaimed, and many of them are still underground at the point in question. When the Brumbach and Holcomb homes were erected at the corner of 16th and Madison streets, workmen engaged in excavating for the cellars found human bones, and for years afterwards, it was not an uncommon thing to dig up old grave stones.
Mr. Scott says that he and his brother came into possession of most of the cemetery ground, which they placed on the market, but, for many years, they found much difficulty in disposing of the lots, because of prevailing superstitions regarding a spot which had once been a graveyard. In fact, the former existence of that cemetery was a veritable hoodoo.
Original image from the Toledo Blade article in 1900.
The Hillcrest stands right in the middle of the cemetery, at Madison and 16th. Those who reside there now may not be alone when they gaze out the windows over what was once the hallowed grounds of a cemetery.
The Hillcrest was built in 1929, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Until the shocking discovery revealed in Haunted Sylvania, the cemetery that lies beneath was unknown. It remains to be seen what actions local authorities may take concerning the burial site where families paid to have their loved ones laid to rest and sacred, religious ceremonies and funeral rites were performed.
Hauntings and disturbances have been frequently reported by residents, visitors, and employees at the structures now situated on top of the cemetery, which include a State of Ohio license bureau, Clerk of Courts title agency, daycare, and apartment building.
Present-day downtown Toledo, the intersection of Madison and 16th.
Supernatural and true crime mysteries from Ohio newspaper archives revealed by seasoned journalist, author under new pen name “Minerva Merryman”
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