Indiana Central State Hospital

While the Indiana legislature had authorized the establishment of a "hospital for the insane" as early as 1827, the doors of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane (later re-named Central State Hospital) did not open until 1848.  At that time, the hospital consisted of one brick building situated on a large parcel of land, numbering over a hundred acres, in the outskirts of Indianapolis.  From 1848-1948, the hospital grew yearly until it encompassed two massive, ornate buildings for the female and male patients, a "sick" hospital for the treatment of physical ailments, a farm colony where patients engaged in "occupational therapy", a chapel, an amusement hall complete with an auditorium, billiards, and bowling alleys, a bakery, a fire house, and a cannery.

Indiana <a  href=

Central State Hospital outside Indianapolis Indiana photo taken by Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2014" width="1024" height="505"> Laundry House

For a half-century, this complex array of buildings and gardens beckoned to all of the state's mentally ill.  By 1905, however, mental health institutions built in Evansville, Logansport, Madison, and Richmond relieved an overcrowded Central State Hospital of some of its patient load, leaving it to treat only those from the "central district", an area of 38 counties situated in the middle portion of the state.

Indiana Central State Hospital | Indianapolis Indiana | Abandoned | Photo taken by Indianapolis-based Commercial Real Estate Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2014

The Laundry House

Indiana Central State Hospital outside Indianapolis Indiana photo taken by Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2014

Laundry House, Indiana Central State Hospital

By the late 1970s, most of the hospital's ostentatious, Victorian-era buildings were declared unsound and razed. In their place, the state constructed brick buildings of a nondescript, institutional genre. These modern buildings and the medical staff therein continued to serve the state's mentally ill, until allegations of patient abuse and funding troubles sparked an effort to forge new alternatives to institutionalization which, in turn, led to the hospital's closure in 1994.

Indiana Central State Hospital | Indianapolis Indiana | Abandoned | Photo taken by Indianapolis-based Commercial Real Estate Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2014

Laundry House

Fortunately, the Indiana State Archives, the Indiana State Library, and the Indiana History of Medicine Museum (housed in one of the hospital's remaining nineteenth-century edifices), are preserving the history of an institution that served, albeit not always well, the mentally ill of Indiana for 146 years.

Indiana Central State Hospital | Indianapolis Indiana | Abandoned | Photo taken by Indianapolis-based Commercial Real Estate Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2014

The Laundry House

Indiana Central State Hospital outside Indianapolis Indiana photo taken by Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2014

Men's Dormitory, Indiana Central State Hospital

Indiana Central State Hospital | Indianapolis Indiana | Abandoned | Photo taken by Indianapolis-based Commercial Real Estate Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2014

Men's Dormitory

For tips on how to improve your interior architecture shots, go to my post Interior Real Estate Photography: 5 Tips for Better Results.

Indiana Central State Hospital outside Indianapolis Indiana photo taken by Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2014

Rec Room inside men's dorm, Indiana Central State Hospital

Related Images:

This entry was posted in Abandoned Photography, Architectural Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

    Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 962 other subscribers

4 Comments

  1. Tamra Kelly December 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    The colors! So interesting to imagine it as it once was.

    • jhumbracht December 30, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

      It was interesting since there’s the museum on-site as well as construction crews demolishing some buildings and remodeling others, yet we came and went…no questions asked.
      It did get a little creepy in the men’s dorm when I looked behind me and saw a single piece of plastic stuck to a nail, swaying gently back and forth, almost defying the harsh wind gusts.
      Shortly after that Natasha said she wanted to leave saying she noticed a big temperature drop and was getting the chills…

  2. Sometimes Interesting December 31, 2014 at 4:51 am #

    This is great stuff, fantastic photos and excellent subject matter. Subscribed! ­čÖé

    • jhumbracht January 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

      Thanks so much!