You are here

Indiana Medical History Museum

-A A +A
Old Pathology Building
1898, Adolph Scherrer. 3045 W. Vermont St.
  • Detail of laboratory
  • Operating theater
  • Operating theater

Built in 1898 to house the nascent Pathology Department at the Indiana Hospital for the Insane, the Pathology Building is the nation’s oldest surviving facility of its kind. The hospital (later the Central State Hospital) was established in 1848 as Indiana’s first state psychiatric institution and located on 160 acres on the western outskirts of Indianapolis. In 1895, George Edenharter hoped to expand medical research at the hospital and lobbied for funds to construct a hospital pathology laboratory. Edenharter worked with architect Adolph Scherrer (1847–1925) to design a state-of-the-art structure that would house the functions of the new department.

Scherrer designed a two-story brick Romanesque Revival building with limestone lintels and beltcourses and a stone foundation. It contained nineteen rooms to serve the department’s purpose of researching the causes and treatments of disease. The facility included an eight-tiered, 100-plus seat amphitheater, various laboratories, library, photography room, autopsy room, and an anatomical and pathological museum.

In 1968, the hospital planned to demolish the building. To save the structure, a group of doctors opened the Indiana Medical History Museum the following year. It remains open to the public and retains the same layout, decoration, and building equipment.

References

Bonsett, Charles A., M.D., “Old Pathology Building,” Marion County, Indiana. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 1969. National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C.

“Central State's Medical Staff and the Emergence of Scientific Medicine: 1890-1920.” Indiana Archives and Records Administration. Accessed May 31, 2016. http://www.in.gov/.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Britta Anderson
Coordinator: 
Benjamin L. Ross

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,