The sanatorium opened to patients in 1911 as the Indiana State Tuberculosis Hospital. With the successful treatment of tuberculosis, the facility converted to a pyschiatric hospital in the 1950's. The facility closed in the late 60's, but later reopened in the late 70's as an assisted living facility. The state transferred patients from other mental institutions into the facility as well.
A history of thousands of deaths and many tragedies at the health care center contributed to its poor reputation and the resulting decline of the facility – including many allegations of resident abuse. In 2002, a woman was found outside dead of hypothermia, and months later a man hung himself less than quarter-mile away. Residents again wandered away and died in separate 2006 incidents, one struck by a car and the other found in a creek; there was a 2009 murder-suicide of two employees.
Given the history of the place, it has a reputation of being haunted--and attracts "ghost hunters" from around the country. The buildings are currently privately owned and open for tours or private exploration.
As I arrived at the complex, I was asked to sign a waiver. I was told that I should be careful, particularly in a few of the buildings, as the floors are very soft and subject to collapse! I also learned that the buildings don't have electricity, so a flashlight is necessary to maneuver around the buildings. At times, I was pushing through wild vines to enter doors. It was a lot more of an adventure than I anticipated!
© Glenn Nagel Photography