Built from 1925 to 1926, the Martinsville Sanitarium’s first residential unit is a lasting representation of the city of Martinsville’s most substantial industry. Within several years of the discovery of mineral water in 1887, Martinsville, Indiana became a leading health resort town in the nation. Consequently, mineral water sanitariums began to pop up all over the area, bringing growth to the town as well as prominent individuals including businessman and entertainers. At one point, eleven sanitariums existed within a one-mile radius.
First created in 1892, the Martinsville Sanitarium was later sold and combined with two other sanitariums and their buildings. From 1897 to 1898, the two buildings were combined into one. Over the years, multiple additions and changes were made to the sanitarium including its first residential unit, which was built 1925-1926. However, as the twentieth century progressed, the country’s fascination with mineral water declined, ultimately leading to a decline in the demand for mineral springs and resorts.
Nevertheless, the Martinsville Sanitarium remained open until 1957 when it was converted into a nursing home, which remained open until 2002. Throughout those years, the sanitarium’s buildings and additions were demolished and remodeled for other uses. Unfortunately, all that remains today is the residential unit built from 1925 to 1926. At the closing of the nursing home, the property was gifted to the Community Service Center of Martinsville. By 2003, the remaining residential unit was abandoned.
In 2005, the residential unit of the Martinsville Sanitarium was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Morgan County Historic Preservation Society is optimistic the building can be rehabilitated and reused in the future.