INARCHITECTURE. Writing about Midwestern Architecture, History and Design.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Muscatatuck State Mental Hospital / Army Urban Combat Training Grounds
The Muscatatuck State Hospital opened in 1920 as the Indiana Farm Colony for Feeble Minded Youth. It was one of several state hospitals serving Indiana's mentally disabled. According to the idea lab at Purdue University's webpage http://idealab.tech.purdue.edu/muscatatuck/home.html the hospital initially served only male youths. They lived in three farmhouses on this property near both Muscatatuck River and Brush Creek. Like the architecture at all of Indiana's state mental health institutions this campuses's architecture is wonderful.
In the 1920s and 1930s the first dormitories went up on the campus and the first women became inmates. These dorms and most of the other existing buildings went up in the midst of the Art Deco Movement and they are grand representations of that style. These photos, captured with my telephone don't do justice to the marvelous Deco genre expressed in aluminum details and yellow brick walls.
The hospital building is an Art Deco gem built in the 1940s.
The state hospital stopped treating the mentally ill in 2005 and became an Indiana Army National Guard training center. Today, the campus holds acres of shipping containers, FEMA trailers, a inexplicable mosque, steel girders supporting concrete block half walls, and topsy turvy structures creating an intentional look and feel of a bombed-out town.
In the midst of this intentional chaos, the original buildings retain their streamlined machine-age stylishness.