The Norman Transcript

Local news

March 26, 2014

Grave for fire victims found

NORMAN — After years of searching for a mass grave in the IOOF Cemetery where 38 fire victims from the 1918 Oklahoma State Hospital fire were buried, the hunt has finally ended. There were 40 deaths, but two victims were identified and buried separately.

A meeting was hosted Tuesday night at Griffin Memorial Hospital, formerly Oklahoma State Hospital, to discuss the search and how individuals determined what is believed to be the 13-by-16-foot grave where the victims were laid to rest.

“You can’t really be sure without excavation,” said Scott Hammerstedt, a member of the research faculty at the Oklahoma Archeological Survey at University of Oklahoma. “I’m about as confident as I can be at this point.”

Hammerstedt has been at OU for seven years and the project was brought to his attention about six years ago, but at the time, they did not have the equipment to search for the grave, he said. About two years ago, OU’s College of Arts and Sciences purchased equipment and the surveying began.

Two different types of equipment were used to survey the IOOF Cemetery to locate the grave. After surveying five grids, the sixth grid led to what they believed to be the correct location.

The survey data, plus the recollection of a local man who remembered his father saying that was where the grave was located, convinced Hammerstedt the grave was there, but it couldn’t be proven without excavation.

While there was some discussion about augering, Hammerstedt said his worry would be that they would auger too deep and come up with human remains, which he wants to avoid. For now, the area will remain flagged until a grave marker, monument or some kind of memorial is placed there.

Director of Griffin Memorial Hospital Larry Gross said they are reviewing hospital records, trying to determine exact ages of people and doing genealogical research to try and get in touch with any living family members of the fire victims.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Norman library to host community dialogue about fracking

    Are Oklahoma oil companies an oligarchy that is controlling state policy? Is fracking safe? These and other topics will be the subject of an upcoming Fracking Forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Norman Public Library’s Lowry Room, 225 ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Ride CART fare free on Ozone Alert Day

    Environmental officials have declared today as an Ozone Alert Day. Passengers ride fare free on Cleveland Area Rapid Transit on Ozone Alert Days....

    July 24, 2014

  • Medical examiner says inmate died of an accidental drug overdose

    The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday said a woman found dead in the Cleveland County jail Feb. 23 died of a drug overdose....

    July 24, 2014

  • Information scarce on ‘dark money’ group in Oklahoma superintendent campaign

    An independent expenditure group that paid for television advertisements opposing State Superintendent Janet Barresi in last month’s primary has not filed required spending reports with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission....

    July 24, 2014

  • Man injured in motorcycle wreck ID’d

    Norman police identified a man transported to Norman Regional Hospital’s emergency room after a two-vehicle collision involving a motorcycle and a car Wednesday....

    July 24, 2014

  • Wine, Organ and Compline at St. Thomas More

    St. Thomas More University Parish, 100 Stinson St., is hosting the Wine, Organ and Compline at 7 p.m. today. The series will begin with a wine and cheese gathering in the atrium, followed by an organ recital presented by guest organist ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following persons were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Kenneth Leo Turk, 64, aggravated count of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol · Kelly Revonn Turner, 21, ...

    July 24, 2014

  • First Junior Police Academy class graduates

    The Norman Police Department will host a graduation ceremony for its first Norman Junior Police Academy class today....

    July 24, 2014

  • More than 700 to receive clothing, school supplies

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Citizens Caring for Children will host a two-day Back-to-School shopping event for school-aged children in foster care living in Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Lincoln, Logan and Pottawatomie counties....

    July 24, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Tuesday: · 2:36 a.m. assault report, 700 block of Stinson Street · 7:32 a.m. larceny report, 5400 block of Huettner Drive · 8:30 a.m. larceny report, 800 block of North ...

    July 24, 2014