|Building Style||Single Building|
Fletcher’s Sanatorium, known as Neuronhurst after 1904, was one of Indianapolis’s first private hospitals for the treatment of nervous and mental diseases in Indiana. Dr. William B. Fletcher, a son of Indianapolis pioneer Calvin Fletcher, opened his private hospital in 1888 on Pennsylvania Street and eventually moved to Alabama Street in a house on the current site of the old Indianapolis City Hall (most recently used as the interim library). Fletcher worked closely with Dr. Mary A. Spink, who eventually became his business partner.
In about 1903 Neuronhurst, presumably named after neurons which are the basic building blocks of the nervous system, expanded on the eastside site. Dr. Spink’s brother, Edgar G. Spink, moved to Indianapolis to serve as construction manager for a new hospital. Spink would remain in the city and become known as a developer and manager of many hotels and apartment buildings such as The Lodge and the Spink-Arms Hotel. Through the years, the older house on the corner would house Edgar Spink, W. B. Fletcher and his family, and various hospital staff and nurses.
The new, three-story and basement brick hospital could house up to 50 voluntary and committed patients. Census records show that there was a very high nurse-to-patient ratio and advertisements promised close personal supervision with minimal restraint. Like many modern hospitals of the era, Neuronhurst provided pleasant surroundings with gardens, a solarium, balconies, and screened-in sleeping porches for fresh air and sunshine. Treatment included a careful diet and plenty of exercise in the gymnasium and swimming pool. Later ads and articles indicate that the sanatorium also specialized in overcoming alcohol addiction. Many people attended the institution to get relief from business and daily stresses and enjoyed the therapeutic baths (saline, Turkish, steam, light ray, and ozone) and massages. Neuronhurst was nationally known and ads in the New York Times indicate that rates varied from $50 to 65 per month.
After working together for nearly twenty years, Dr. Mary Spink took over as president after Dr. Fletcher’s death in 1907. Spink pioneered the way for Indiana women who wished to practice medicine. She was assisted at the sanatorium by her sister, Dr. Urbana Spink, who was also a neuro-psychiatrist. Their aging mother, Rosanna Morgan Spink, helped manage the nurses and lived at 126 N. Highland Avenue. Both sisters lived at the institute, but traveled extensively overseas and to a cottage in Florida. Mary was an active suffragist and active with many medical associations.
The sanatorium suffered from a loss of patients during the Depression and after Spink’s death in 1939 the hospital closed. In the 1940s the buildings were used by the Medical Health Center Hospital, operated by the Indianapolis Public Health Department. The structures were demolished in the 1950s.