Human remains found on future license bureau/title office site

Excavating company accidentally digs up graves on Shady Lane in Norwalk.
Aaron Krause
Aug 10, 2014


Huron County Commissioners Gary Bauer and Tom Dunlap said officials tried to avoid the grisly discovery made Friday.

An excavating company was digging near the cemetery on Shady Lane at the site of the future new building for the license bureau and title office.

What they uncovered roughly three to four feet below were what appeared to be human bones.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: To see pictures of the scene, click HERE.)

Dunlap said county officials purposely moved the site of the new office back from the cemetery to avoid such a situation. Bauer said county engineer Joe Kovach made an "extra effort" to know where the cemetery ended. Officials poured over all records from the county's history, Bauer added.

"We're very concerned about it," he said.

But there was little county officials could've done to ensure they didn't excavate on cemetery property, county historian and Reflector columnist Henry Timman said.

"It's just exactly (what I) thought would probably happen," Timman said when informed of Friday's discovery.

The problem is, nobody ever marked the spots where the cemetery ends. Timman said from his research, "there's 140 some people buried there" and they're not all buried in the front where a bench is located.

"I said when I've been consulted about it I knew there had to be more to it than that," Timman said. "One hundred forty people occupy an awful lot of space."

The only thing county officials could've done was some preliminary digging. However, if the deceased were buried six feet under, workers would have to dig a while, Timman said. He added some people claim one can "witch for land" by poking sticks into the ground to see if it had been disturbed. If it were, the stick would go down.

"They say it works; I don't know," Timman said.

He said the site of the current high school, jail, hospital, bypass and Christie Lane used to be a farm. Those who lived in an old county home on the property were indigent people of any age taken in by the county and given food, shelter and clothing. But, they had to earn their stay by either working in the home or on the farm.

"You were expected to do your share of the work," Timman said.

Some couldn't because they were sick. When a lot of those residents died, they couldn't afford a funeral or plot for burial, so they were buried in the cemetery on Shady Lane, which Timman said dates to 1848. The last burial took place about 1917, he added. That's when tax money started supporting burials at Woodlawn Cemetery, Timman said.

Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard said sometime Friday afternoon, excavators discovered bones that were "likely human remains."

As the sheriff spoke, county officials surrounded the site of the discovery, marked off by sheriff's tape. Howard, however, said the site is not a crime scene.

Among those on the scene was Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper. She said the county would ensure the scene is secured and that the remains are eventually re-interred appropriately."

Huron County Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Harwood was expected to arrive on scene Friday evening to confirm the remains were of humans.

Timman said he doesn't believe they're the bones of animals who resided on the former farm.

"There's at least a temporary delay" in the new offices project, Kasper said.

About a month ago, the commissioners approved the lowest base bid of $1,119,000 for construction of the new building for the license bureau and title office. New Washington-based construction company Studer-Obringer Inc. is the general contractor. Dan Frederick is the project's architect/construction manager.

Huron County Auditor Roland Tkach has said the current building on Shady Lane, which houses the license bureau and title offices, doesn't meet the needs of the public due to space limitations.

"Many, many Saturdays people are lined outside the door (by) the license bureau," Tkach said.

Count clerk of courts Susan Hazel has said county officials have invested "a lot of time" in exploring different options.

"I think exciting times are ahead for us," Hazel said. "I'm pleased that we're working together."

This discovery, however, likely will delay the project for some time. Howard ordered all construction workers to leave the site until further notice.

It’s possible the graves are located throughout the area where the office is planned.



This is a case of very poor planning. If they weren't sure of the cemetery's exact boundaries, then why would they risk it? How much extra is the project going to cost now? I at least hope the remains are treated with the proper respect.


The Democrats will register them to vote!




and what is wrong with the old building that they want to spend 1 million dollars on a upgrade? SPOILED MUCH!!


again lets spend the tax dollars and let another building fall to ruins.. if parking was an issue, then build parking lot across the street.. hello.. or better yet move to the giant eagle building or whatever it is across from rite aid.. more conviently located, huge parking, and would use a building that is already up to code.. but then again.. you cant fix stupid


No, that would make sense and cost a LOT less. Remember, we're talking about politicians here.

yea right

Snorwalk. Your one stop lively hood. Start life at fisher price move to preschool to high school to jail to welfare to old age to the morgue at fisher price. Brilliant idea. Haha

swiss family

So now what do they do?? Move the placement of the proposed structure??? or continue on and bulldoze right on through regardless of the remains of the deceased? like I believe they did when building the High School???

Kobayashi Maru

Like the high school? Prove it...

swiss family

before you make a total a$s of yourself you might want to re read what I actually wrote.... I will quote it for you..."like I BELIEVE they did with the high school...I am not asking for you to believe it... heck I am not even asking you to COMPREHEND what I wrote...because obviously that is something you have no ability to do in the first place....moron..


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal information.

swiss family

how unfortunate for you "freespeech" especially considering your user name... I guess you don"t have free speech after all now , do you???lolololol... so much to say, but nobody cares.....


Go get your prozac refill you need it!

swiss family

so, sorry... but again, you don't know what you are talking about.....or is that not meant for me?? but is that just a reminder for yourself????? lol


They're probably the remains of people that were standing in line at the original BMV.


...Another Beauty!!!


as I have said before,stupid is as stupid does,the local historian warned them,couldn't they have moved the damn building,bad enough these people were destitute in life now we can't show them disrespect 100 yrs after death

hor mone

No girls, you caint see my bones.


There is only one solution here. Build it somewhere else, or repurpose a building somewhere else. These are not ancient remains. What part of final resting place do they not understand. I disagree with the sheriff. The crime tape should remain until they cover it all up and leave. Until then it is a crime scene.

swiss family

I do hope that everyone is taking notice of the solution that they seem to be going to as of now..and that is to "Reinter" the bones.. and this his described by the local coroner, Dr Harwood.. and it consists of"burying the remains again, often in a different location"...Like I said before. I BELIEVE that this was done before when they were digging for the current High School,it is my understanding that it is possible that all of that property was used as a cemetery for the orphanage.. so it is also possible that there were bodies buried everywhere and anywhere on all of that property.

Now before my stalkers come to attack me for what I question and what I believe might be the truth. I would hope that if anyone who works for or runs or is associated with any of the local Newspaper, or the local Historians would ask them and investigate from their prospective and find the answers that are up in the air right now. I am not a historian, and I do Not work for the paper, but I do know approximately how many people adults and children were buried behind the complex, and I do know that the little mole hill with the park bench and the stone memorial structure on the hill , does NOT begin to act as a headstone or marker for all of the graves spread out throughout all of that property..and I feel that burial grounds are sacred lands and to disturb them is the wrong thing to do in my opinion


Actually this time I will agree with you. Graves should be left alone.

swiss family