A reader commented with some confusion as to the purpose and language of this facility. The anonymous comment read: "am confused ,was this place a asylum and orphanage. Was the park the building or farm land? Are there still people buried in the cemetery now and what happened to the building?"
Here is the information. The term asylum and orphanage were often interchangeable.
Do not confuse the use of the word asylum with a facility for mental issues. It was also used in terms of sanctuary, a safe place of care. It was for children and during one period,in the 1920's, it also housed some senior adults.
The cemetery has been moved. There is a marker in the park with names on it. Those buried there included nuns, priests, some of the elderly in care there and a few children. Gory stories of deaths and secret tunnels were largely urban legends created by anti-Catholic groups. If a tunnel existed, like they did in many such institutions, they were there to allow the removal of the dead in a manner so that current "inmates" (as they were called) did not see and be disturbed but it. They also allowed for funerals to take place despite rain and snow above ground. which would have make trekking to the cemetery problem-some.
The buildings are still there but have, since the 1970's housed the headquarters of the IPHC, a global church group. The entire area that includes the present park, the IPHC headquarters and part of the area held by Southwestern Christian University were all part of the original institution. They raised animals and a truck garden that helped support the children and teach them skills.
Check the Bethany library for a copy of the city history done a few years ago. I wrote the histories of the orphanage and the school included in that volume. I also arranged for the IPHC denominational entry as well.
Also, review previous posts on this site for more information on this subject.