Price Hill Potter’s Field

Price Hill Potter Field

Driving up Guerley Road in Price Hill, you would never suspect you are driving by a mass grave for victims of Cholera and Tuberculosis. In fact, most people don’t know the 25 acre Potter’s Field exists.

The plaque pictured above, along with a newer one posted right below it, are the only indication that its there. Here’s what the 2nd plaque reads.

This 25 acre cemetery is thse former burial site for Hamilton Country’s poor, unwanted, and unknown.

Established in 1849 and operated until 1981. between 8,500 and 10,000 people are laid to rest here. Most of the graves are unmarked but some have metal plates or wooden stakes marking the burial site. A veteran’s section was set aside and many Civil War soldiers are believed to be buried here. Records of known graves were recorded in a book kept by the County Department of Human Resources.

There are no written records of burials before 1898. The Branch Hospital for Contagious Diseases, locally referred to as the “Pest House” controlled the cemetery from 1879 to 1912. This hospital was located at the site of what is now the Dunham Recreation Center. Persons who died at the “Pest House” were buried here as quickly as possible, foregoing customary funeral services. The Hamilton County Welfare Department eventually took over operations of the cemetery after the hospital closed.

In order to preserve and protect the many graves, known and unknown, and the growth that has occurred over the passing years, Potter’s Field is now being maintained in a natural state.

While I’ve read posts by others complaining about the conditions of the cemetery, I’m guessing someone cleaned it up recently. Though it is basically overgrown with trees and weeds, I saw no trash, and many of the headstones were visible. Considering the place is about 165 years old and hasn’t had a burial since 1981, I guess it could be worse. At one time there was a  house on the property for a caretaker, the last being a man named Joseph Scott, who lived there for 15 years until the cemetery was closed for burials in May 1981.  When the cemetery closed, some family members of people who had been buried there filed lawsuits and lodged complaints about how poorly the burials were handled, and how the cemetery wasn’t maintained.

Aside from those who died from cholera or tuberculosis, the cemetery was also used to bury the poor, the unknown, and supposedly, those deemed too evil to be buried in a normal, faith specific cemetery. I wanna know what you had to do to be considered one of those people! And of course, there are those who claim this patch of land is haunted, presumably by those unhappy souls who were buried in these unmarked and forgotten graves. Can’t say I’d blame them for being pissed about it, I’m sure I would be too.

While it’s not posted anywhere, the address for the Potter’s Field is 4700 Guerley Road. The plaques I mentioned are right at the edge of the woods, near the 1st private driveway on the right as you go up the hill, which you can’t park in. In fact, about the closest place to park without pissing of the residents is about a 1/4 mile up the street at CVS. Park there and walk back down, when you get to the sign, you can sorta make out a trail in the woods to your right. Just follow it in, and you’ll find the headstones.

 Can you visit this location?

As far as we know, it’s open to the public until sundown. After dark, it’s probably trespassing.

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30 thoughts on “Price Hill Potter’s Field

  1. That’s awesome. I remember hearing something about a cemetery like that locally a few years back in the news for whatever reason, but I could never remember what the name was or where it was at, or why it was even in the news. I always thought it was in Northern Kentucky though. Hell, they could have one too. That’s cool stuff, I might have to stop by there some time.

  2. WOW I grew up right by there & didn’t even know this was there, I still live in price hill so I definitely have to check this out, I do know that every time I go up by the old TB hospital I always get an eerie feeling .

  3. Burned a couple pairs of ice skates in the bon fire at the pond every winter. Watched alit of dumb kids skate down the frozen hill onto the pond. The shelter house had some kind of goo put on it to keep people off the roof. Grew up on Rutledge a block away. A lot of memories at Rapid Run

  4. This article says no one has been buried there since 1981. This is untrue I have an uncle buried in an unmarked grave in Potters Field. I believe he was buried between 1988 and 1991. Perhaps the date has a typo and it should be 1991.

  5. If you want some more information, stop by the Price Hill Historical Society and Museum! Actually, if you are ever doing an article on anything in Lower, East, or West Price Hill, I’m sure we would have information!

    1. That is a long walk for an older person. A tour would be good. Would like to see the headstones and show my respect.
      I remember my mom mentioning potter’s field when I was young. She spent time at Dunham as she had TB and lived to be 87, so not buried there. But her an a friend went touring the basement and found the morgue and went running.

  6. That is a long walk for an older person. A tour would be good. Would like to see the headstones and show my respect.
    I remember my mom mentioning potter’s field when I was young. She spent time at Dunham as she had TB and lived to be 87, so not buried there. But her an a friend went touring the basement and found the morgue and went running.

  7. in all respects to the unfortunates buried there it rises a question of the contamination of the ground from the ones buried there as they had T.B. and CHOLERA……T.B. being an air borne/contact (coughing,sneezing,spitting,etc!) affliction!……these poor souls died and were buried having the disease so I think it is only reasonable to assume that the ground would be contaminated and what would prevent the disease from escaping from the ground into the air, especialy if the ground was dug up or disturbed ?..Cholera was/is acquired from pollution and human waste in water if I am correct. ….,

    1. @orvin dove, I was wondering the same thing; especially now since there is a huge rec center built on its site and countless children playing and swimming on its grounds.

      1. I was raised in lower price hill (8th&State) and also lived on “the hill” in later years not far from Rapid Run and Dunham. My best friend’s father was a patient at Dunham for years in the 40’s, I believed he was released in the early 50’s ?..
        your comment of the children playing there and swimming, etc! was what was on my mind also. Glad to see someone besides myself is thinking of the dangers that may be there, I thought maybe I was just being an alarmists !
        I do believe it is a subject that needs looking into tho.

  8. Well if there is a recreation center built there now then what did they do with the bodies. I had an uncle buried there. He died from his heart no TB and no cholera. They buried poor people there in the end.

    1. Shelia….I don’t think the cemetery is located at the same site as the recreation complex ?…..”Potters Field” is located before you get to the recreation center..
      according to this site it is still there in the same spot and undisturbed.

    2. There’s no rec site built at the cemetery. The rec site was built at the location of the old hospital. The cemetery is roughly 3/4 mile up the road from there.

  9. just found out my mom is buried there. she donated her body to uc after she died. she was a good catholic and a good person. she should never had been put in pottersfield like a piece of garbage.

  10. my mom is buried there. she donated her body to uc and she was a good catholic and a decent person. I just found out she is at potters field and am kinds ticked off that uc put her there and didn’t tell us. she was a very loved mother and doesn’t deserve to be there.

  11. I mean no offence Beth but I have been told that they cremate the remains of those who donate their bodys ? .. did you mean to say they cremated her and buried her ashes there ? … I assume you can’t afford to have her reburied elsewhere ..
    yes! that is a sad thing !

    1. Beth is my mother. The family was never given the option to have her ashes returned after she donated her body. No one in the family knew until recently that ashes may have been located anywhere. We started with Spring Grove but after visiting there they had no record of my grandmother. When my mom contacted UC they told her based on the year of death she is most likely located at Potters Field. No idea where to even begin trying to locate where her ashes may be buried there. She does not show up on the Find a Grave website for Potters Field. Any other resource suggestions to determine if she is in fact located at Potters Field?

      1. I wonder why your family was never given the option to have her ashes returned to the family ? . .. what year was she buried ? .. I believe Potters Field ceased operating in the ’80’s ? … I am sure whoever was running the place, P.F., when she was buried failed to record her burial and grave site, that is if she is buried there, and of course her grave would be un-marked as so many are there, if she is buried there? .. who has the records of who are buried there is any ones guess .. you would think the city would since they took over P.F. .. thinking they would have obtained the records of who is buried there . again I have to wonder why they would have buried her there to start with ? sounds like a major screw up to me , and for sure disrespect to your family .
        I suggest you see a lawyer or contact the city Attorney or State General Attorney, or even write your State Represenitive and see if there is something they can do about all this. I don’t know what kind of papers, agreements and contracts are involved when you donate your body, then or now ?… have you tried Hamilton County Vital Statistics records to see if they have a record of her death and burial ? ..
        did General Hospital or U.C. handle her cremation and burial ?
        .I wish you the best of luck and I feel for you and your family.

      2. Jeanne,
        have you tried the County Dept. of Human Resources ?.. supposenly they kept records on the old Potter Field Cemeteries and burials in Hamilton County.
        I came across a site that my be of some help also, …waymarker.com … they have a forum and also info on “Potter Field Abandoned Cemeteries in Cincinnati” amongst other searches on this site that may be helpful ? …
        hope this helps !

  12. I lived on Guerley Road for about seven or eight years, and I’ve seen the most fucked up shit. I used to have trouble sleeping, would see people or dark figures walking through my backyard, even sometimes through my house. The worst part of my house was the attic, which you could only get to via a door in my bedroom. The door would swing open and shut at random, and when open, I and countless visitors to my home would experience a ‘watched’ or ‘paranoid’ feeling. I, at first, wanted to blame it on the wind moving through the attic, but upon further research, found the attic to be completely insulated- there’s no moving air up there at all. Even in the dead of winter, the room is incredibly hot.
    Further down the street is the actual Potter’s Field. I’ve been hiking through it several times. Upon entering, there is an immediate sense of paranoia, the same kind that I described from the attic scenario. I’ve seen small children running through the trees, as well as have heard many strange noises. Other ‘non paranormal’ things I’ve found include grave markers with only numbers (I assume from unidentified soldiers’, piles of bones, old shovels, large wooden crosses, and red bud trees.
    The thing I found most interesting in my wanderings is, if you find yourself lost in the Potter’s Field, say, if you’re like me and ventured off the path, stay still and quiet and listen for the sound of footsteps. If you follow the footsteps, it leads your directly out of the woods.

    Also note, there is a fallen power line somewhere in the middleish of the woods.

    Anyone else got stories?

    1. We just was there today. It looks like someone has been having a party back in the woods. I didnt get a errie feeling or anything. The city needs to step up and clean the place up. These are peoples family members poor or not.

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