Indiana Medical History

Tour curated by: Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology

The history of medicine is a popular branch of scientific history and that is very true in the State of Indiana. Across much of the 19th and 20th centuries, several prominent Hoosiers took part in significant movements and practices in the medical field in an effort to make their neighbors better. Fortunately, quite a few of the sites where these people did their works still exist throughout the state.

This tour highlights sites in Indiana that house exhibits and displays pertaining to the state’s history in relation to medicine such as the Luckey Hospital Museum and the Longcliff Museum. However, this tour also contains sites where notable medical work was done in the state, such as Clay County Hospital and the Old Pathology Building at the Indiana Medical History Museum. Discover Indiana invites you to take a journey across the 19th state and learn the history of Hoosiers working to save lives!

Please keep in mind that each tour is by no means a comprehensive list of sites in Indiana related to each theme. Please be respectful of private property lines when visiting each of these sites.

Locations for Tour

Early History: 1840’s-1900’s Two and a half miles west of downtown sits the site of Central State Hospital, Indiana’s first hospital for the mentally ill. The term “hospital” rather than “asylum” signaled the institution’s intent to…

Founded in 1928 by Dr. James Edward Luckey, a physician working in the African-American resort Wolf Lake area since at least 1893, Luckey Hospital served the surrounding rural communities until 1961. Prior to 1928, Dr. Luckey operated his practice…

The historic residential dwelling of Conrad and Catherine Bloch, owners of a thriving shoe business, was built in 1873. In 1923, the home was leased to Dr. Harvey Cook, who transformed the building into the last privately owned hospital in…

In the second half of the 19th century, an organization of women in Montgomery County displayed a strong focus on bettering their community and helping those in need, mirroring a national trend. With virtuous intentions, the Women’s Union in…

The three and a half story limestone-trimmed brick building of the Clay County Hospital was the hospital’s original building, and it was constructed from 1927 to 1928. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building retains many of…

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,…

Built between 1838 and 1848, Dr. William Hutchings’ hospital and personal office currently functions as a small public museum. Born in 1825 in Kentucky, Hutchings would later complete his medical study in Kentucky and his medical training during…

Opened in 1888, the original Administration Building of the Logansport State Hospital only recently became home to the Longcliff Museum. The well-preserved Administration Building, symbolic to the Logansport State Hospital Building, has been…

Madame CJ Walker was the first African American woman to open the field of cosmetology as a new and lucrative industry for black Americans. Her experimentation with hair preparations for African American women eventually led to the establishment of a…

Marie Stuart Edwards, a leader in suffrage and other social movements, was born in 1880 in Lafayette. Her youth included many “firsts”. She was the first girl in Lafayette to ride a bike and the first to attend a women’s college. In 1904, she…

In 1819, George Sutton, a prominent figure in Indiana medical history, immigrated to the United States from England. After completing a vigorous education in Ohio, Dr. Sutton moved to the small port town of Aurora, Indiana and in 1836 began his…

The original Fort Knox was located in the center of Vincennes, but it later moved in 1803 to the outskirts of the town because residents complained about the amount of time soldiers spent in the saloons. The original spot is identified today by an…

Dr. Samuel Harrell, a late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century physician, played an important role in both Hamilton County and Indiana medical history. He first studied medicine in Michigan and later in both Vienna and Paris before he and his…

One of the four original diagonal streets of the 1821 plan for Indianapolis, Indiana Avenue was the core of African American life in Indianapolis. Businesses along the avenue, particularly the 400 and 500 blocks, provided food, housing,…

The Convent of the Immaculate Conception Monastery, located on a hillside just east of Ferdinand, is the mother-house of the Sisters of Saint Benedict of Ferdinand. The Convent was founded in 1867 in downtown Ferdinand when four sisters arrived to…

In the early 20th century, tuberculosis took its toll on Indiana’s population. As a result, tuberculosis sanatoriums were built throughout the state for those infected. In 1918, the Lake County Tuberculosis Association began the process of building…