Difference between revisions of "Logansport State Hospital"

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(Museum Information)
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| location = Logansport, IN
| location = Logansport, IN
| architecture_style =  
| architecture_style =  
| peak_patient_population = 2,448 in 1954  
| peak_patient_population = 2,558 in 1954  
| alternate_names =<br>  
| alternate_names =<br>  
*Longcliffe Asylum
*Longcliffe Asylum
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Logansport, Indiana<br>
Logansport, Indiana<br>
Group tours by appointment<br>
Group tours by appointment<br>
Jacque Phillips/Training Officer 3
(574) 737-3802
Darrin Monroe/ Information Specialist
(574) 737-3803
Brain Newell/Librarian
Brain Newell/Librarian
(574) 722-4141 x-3712
(574) 722-4141 x-3712

Revision as of 10:02, 6 January 2012

Logansport State Hospital
Construction Began 1884
Opened 1888
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Logansport, IN
Peak Patient Population 2,558 in 1954
Alternate Names
  • Longcliffe Asylum
  • Northern Indiana State Hospital for the Insane


In 1883 discussions were made concerning opening a state hospital since the state's only mental facility in Indianapolis had become overcrowded. A 160 acre farm was purchased in October 1883 and an additional 121 adjoining acres were donated by the citizens of Cass County. Plans & specifications were submitted May 26, 1884. In the next year the Administration building, a 3-story structure of Victorian architecture was built at the center of the ridge (cliff) in the maple grove. For the next 70 years east & west from the Administration building were to be erected 5 pavilions (wards) arranged in a straight line with fifty feet separation. In the rear of the center buildings was a building to be known as Rear Center. it was designed for offices, assembly room & employees' quarters. Still father to the south was the boiler house, pump house & laundry. A spur of the Terre Haute & Logansport Railroad entered the grounds for rail deliveries.

Only four ward buildings were built on either side of the Administration building. To the east 1-2, 5, 6 & 8-9 for women; A-B, E, F-G, & H-I to the west for men.

Joseph G. Rogers, M.D., was employed by the Board of Commissioners as Medical Superintendent. Dr. Rogers designed the ward buildings and their location. The Rogers family lived on the 2nd floor of the Administration building. The asylum opened it's doors to the first patients on July 1, 1888. By the end of the year 309 patients were admitted, 17 of whom were released or died, patient census was 292.

Early Years

In the 1890s, new admissions averaged 190 persons per year, with 109 discharges & 44 deaths. New ward & service buildings, maintenance repairs, remodeling & ground work were needed. An assembly hall (later chapel) was completed in 1893 at a cost of $10,000. Activities & church services were held there until the 1950s. Within the original Rear Center buildings, the assembly & sewing rooms were combined into the central dining rooms. As the census rose, the need for more beds became more critical. An annex was built to the 2 terminal buildings known as 8-9 & H-I. Ward buildings 3-4 & C-D were finished in 1900.

Medical superintendents Rogers, Terflinger, Dodds & Williams were the administrative officers covering 45 years. Their leadership guided the hospital through some difficult times. Some problems were: inadequate funding, high admission rate & low discharge rate, need for new wards, deteriorated conditions of existing buildings & equipment, new therapies, World War 1, & in the 1930s the depression.

Census in 1910 was 1,001 present; 1,105 enrolled; up 360 from the decade before. Wards 3-4, C-D, the "tent colony", ward 10-11 & K were completed.

Throughout the years, farming, livestock & gardening were most important. Cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits & ducks were sources of meat. In early years the ice house was filled each winter with ice cut from the pond on the hospital grounds. A cannery, using patient labor, preserved fruits & vegetables. A root house held potatoes.

The 1910s began with the hospital being overcrowded (2 beds in 1 bed rooms) & caused suspended admission applications. The hospital needed the following: pathology building, open air colony, more land, surgical addition, spiral fire escapes, better phone system & cover for water reservoirs.

Admissions averaging 250 patients per year balanced out discharges & deaths. 89 patients were transferred to Richmond State Hospital in 1911. The assembly Hall was unsafe, the Pathology building was completed & wings were added to the Rear Center building.

Records indicate there were 270 employees in the 1910s. The records also show; the great flood of 1913 caused limited damage to the hospital, Wasserman test developed & used at the hospital, hospital still overcrowded, water being pumped from the Wabash River instead of contaminated wells, fire damaged Ward 4, 25th anniversary of the hospital, eugenics study began.

World War 1 years were difficult for employees and employees. Treatment programs, medical care & everyday services were reduced as male attendants & officers went into military service.

The 1925 statistical reports indicate 1,196 patients present, 217 admissions, 87 discharges & 100 deaths. Additions included a new root cellar, southwest road & stone bridge. Additions to the 6th & 7th wards, radiators placed in attendants rooms, new operating room in addtion to the 3rd ward.

Building construction in the late 1920s included: Men's infirmary & Officer's cottages in 1926 & the women's infirmary in 1928. Total acreage was 807 after purchase of 2 farms. The first canteen was opened in 1928. Occupational Therapy for females, radios were installed throughout the hospital created L ward in the basement of the mens infirmary & created hydro & electro-therapy departments in 1929.

By an act of the State Legislature of Indiana in 1927, the name of the hospital was changed from Northern Indiana Hospital for the Insane to Logansport State Hospital. The decade ended with 1,389 patients and 166 employees.


The 1930s began with: overcrowding, ward building construction urgent repairs needed, dependence on farm & dairy for supplies & depressed economy. Dr. C.L. Williams began his superintendency in 1933 & completed it in 1945. Emphasis in the '30s was on rehabilitation of water lines; medical research; improving patient services; updating heating, plumbing, electrical & telephone systems; and starting a socail work department. In the mid-1930s the Works Progress Administration (WPA) allocated federal funds for re-roofing, opening a quarry, reconstruction of the stone driveways & concrete work.

A women's treatment ward building, known as 14-15, later as inactive TB, then Gray 5 & 8 (Isaac Ray after 1979) was completed in 1932 for $189,000. A series of buildings was financed 55% state, 45% federal. These buildings in the late 1930's were: Men's treatment ward known as M-O & camp, later female treatment on M, Violet & Orange (adolescents and mentally retarded) opened at a cost of $250,000. The Camp ward barracks, housing working male patients since 1907, was razed soon after and the men moved into the lower floor of M-O. this building was located on the far west end of the original line of buildings on the ridge. M-s (medical-surgical) valued at $450,000, was located northeast of the Administration building and opened in 1939. M-S has housed new admissions, TB & geriatric patients, hospital wards, psychology, social service, doctor's offices, X-ray, EEG & EKG, dental, central supply, medical records, hydrotherapy & the morgue.

The same funding formula was used to construct 3 buildings, 2 as wards & 1 for personnel. Wards 16-17 (known as old person's ward, inactive TB then Gray 6-7) opened in 1940 as did wards R-S (later known as Admissions-Treatment). Those buildings were nearly identical in design & total cost for each was $225,000. Several services were reconstructed. Laboratory progressed from being a rodent-proof morgue in 1891 to a more well equipped lab in 1939 in the new M-S building. Hydrotherapy was conducted in it's own department rather then on the wards and photographing of patients began in 1934. The 50th Anniversary on July 1, 1938 observed 5 decades of services to the needs of mentally ill.

Dr. C.L. Williams was responsible for guiding the hospital through the depression and war years. His administration was marked by a total approach since he recognized that no one service was more important then another. A Department of Nursing was organized in 1940 with Miss Roth as director. The first consideration was the mental & physical care and comfort of the patient. Music & work therapy positions were new specialties to the psychiatric setting. Special programs for the alcoholic and sexual deviant were initiated. Several specialists in psycho-surgery were added to staff. Use of the farms was increased and put into full production.

In the early 1940's, personnel problems were created by the National Defense Program. In the all out war effort before & into the World War 2 years, the increase of wages and the creation of new positions in industry resulted in large numbers of employees leaving state employment. The hospital was not fully staffed for several years. War economy resulted in less maintenance & repair parts were not available.

In 1941 the "Hilltop Herald", the hospital newspaper, began publication. A new canning plant was built in 1942. The nursing Service had 57 women attendants & 61 male attendants. The Assembly Hall built in 1893 was now 50 years old and despite having been condemned in 1918, was still in constant use. On February 10, 1943 400 patients from Evansville State Hospital arrived by train after a 5 day trip. They were held at Logansport due to a large fire at Evansville.

In the mid-1940's annual reports always included superintendents' recommendation for a new northern Indiana state hospital to lessen the overcrowding at Logansport. Beatty Memorial Hospital (Westville State Hospital) opened in 1952. One report states 2 physicians were on duty when the census was 2,229 patients. Occasionally for 2 to 7 wards, there were no night attendants. Selected female patients would watch over those wards when needed.

The 1940s ended with these recommendations: tuberculosis cases need to be segregated; improved fire protection; new building & refrigeration units were needed; 1919 boilers, Assembly Hall & all 1887 ward buildings should be replaced; and new employee cottages were needed.

John A. Larson, M.D. was superintendent as the 1950's began. The challenge was to turn the hospital from a custodial institution into a psychiatric center using an active treatment program. In revolutionizing policy, he reorganized wards into treatment centers. Screening, identifying type & stage of disease, surgical services, consulting services, hydrotherapy, trained volunteers assigned to wards to relieve staff for patient therapy, dental surveys and a nurses training center were innovative for his day.

Life magazine in 1951 alleged "Longcliff's use of cuffs, muff, camisoles and straight jackets without authorization; confinement meant, for most patients, a life sentence until malnutrition, TB, abuse and neglect finished the inmate off." Backed by the governor and an emergency grant of funds, the turnaround was indicated by 10 full-time physicians, consulting specialists, student nurse program, an 8 hour shift & 50% more attendants. In 1951 the hospital was awarded second place by the American Psychiatric Association for the progress made.

During the 1950s changes included Insulin therapy, enlarged alcoholic treatment program, increased use of ECT, new Red Cross volunteer program & a new ward for TB patients. The hospital also received funds for a 40-hour work week. The First annual carnival in 1952 was an employee-sponsored event for patients. Horse shows were enjoyed in the mid-1950s as were the annual flower shows & occupational therapy exhibits.

Construction projects in this decade were refrigeration & storage building in 1952, Rogers Hall and the 180' power plant chimney both in 1956. Contracts were approved for 4 additional cottages. The hospital reached it's peak patient population in 1954 with 2,448 patients present, 100 were transferred that year to Beatty Memorial. WLCF, the hospital TV station, began limited televising in 1959.

Priorities into the 1960s included: chapel with recreational & occupational therapy; receiving building for acute, intensive treatment, medical services. One 1960 editorial read "Logansport State Hospital for years has been recognized as Indiana's leading mental hospital, not because it has had the largest number of patients, but because it has had progressive leadership and a capable, dedicated staff." The 1960s began with a census of 2,200 patients and ended the decade at less then 1,400.

The 1913 outdoor swimming pool was located in 1960 after 45 years under weeds and debris. The pool was reconstructed and continued to be used until the late 1980s. The Activity Therapy building opened in June 1963 and Ward Building 1-2 reconstruction was completed in 1965. Institutional workers had a salary range from $175 to $215 per month in 1963. Psychiatric attendants were paid $205 a month.

Admissions in 1962 were at 1,400 but dropped to 800 8 years later. The number of children however increased from 30 in 1962 to 86 in 1966 showing a need for a children's unit. Nearing the end of the 1960's two developments occurred. First, Superintendent Fogel was notified that the hospital's 920 acre farming operation was to be terminated by March 1968. The second development was the hospital's reorganization into the Unit System. By April 1968 all patients from the same county were assigned to the same unit or grouping of wards. The movement was away from the assignment by diagnosis or custody.


The 1970s began with administration stressing "management by objectives." Individual employees and supervisors planned, agreed upon and wrote the results to be accomplished by a given date. Patient census was to be reduced to 1,360 by 1973. Ten year (1973-1983) objectives guided the hospital, employees and patient care programs. The role of the hospital was changing with the coming of several comprehensive mental health centers. Logansport was no longer the center of the catchment area. Redistricting occurred later in the 1970's. A new laundry facility was completed in 1977 & Gray 5-8 was converted into a forensic unit in 1979. Beatty Memorial Hospital (Westville State Hospital) changed over to a prison in 1979, this resulted in the new forensic unit and an increase in admissions from northwest Indiana.

A new food service facility began to take shape in 1980 on site of the former men's infirmary & L ward. Centralized food preparation, 2 cafeterias & service to 9 satellite kitchens provided better conditions. On June 14, 1980 a fire destroyed the kitchen area that had been used for many years and was about to be closed. Throughout the 1980s several wards buildings were renamed & upgraded.

In 1994 Central State Hospital in Indianapolis was closed, this led to an increase of patients and funds being allocated for more upgrades. Demolition of older unused ward buildings started around 200 and continued after the new Isaac Ray Treatment Center opened. Today only a few of the older buildings, including the original Administration Building still stand.

Images of Logansport State Hospital

Main Image Gallery: Logansport State Hospital


The Old Longcliff Cemetery was to the south near the hospital, but now can not be located being abandoned in 1891. The cemetery moved to its present location after 1891 and contained burials through the 1950's. It is not in use today.

Museum Information

Logansport State Hospital Museum
1098 S. State Road 25
Logansport, Indiana
Group tours by appointment
Jacque Phillips/Training Officer 3 (574) 737-3802 Darrin Monroe/ Information Specialist (574) 737-3803 Brain Newell/Librarian (574) 722-4141 x-3712