Logansport State Hospital

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Logansport State Hospital
Construction Began 1884
Opened 1888
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Logansport, IN
Peak Patient Population 2,260 in 1958
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.

By the 1990s new facilities were being built to replace the aging cottages & most were demolished.

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
Brain Newell/Librarian (574) 722-4141 x-3712