National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Marion Branch, Building No. 21, 1700 East 38th Street, Marion, Grant County, IN
Overview documentation in HABS No. IN-306. Additional individual structure documentation in HABS No. IN-306-A through HABS No. IN-306-AR.
STORED OFF SITE AND ON SITE. mchr
Significance: Building No. 21 is one of two nearly identical flanking wings (with Building No. 22) for the original main hospital at the Marion Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS), established in 1889. The NHDVS was a federal institution authorized by Congress in 1865 and charged with caring for Civil War veterans disabled by their military service. By 1930 the system had eleven branches and became part of the new Veterans Administration. Congressman George Steele of the 11th Indiana Congressional District successfully promoted the creation of this Branch in Grant County with the promise of an on-site natural gas well for free heating and lighting. The Marion Branch was the seventh NHDVS branch and featured a picturesque campus of winding avenues and red brick Queen Anne buildings with wide porches and ornamental balustrades. The original buildings were designed by the Dayton, Ohio architectural firm of Peters and Burns.
Building No. 21 sits at the north side of the multi-part hospital structure and is connected by a narrow corridor. This two-story Queen Anne structure housed patient wards, staff and service spaces. Its largely domestic decorative mode belied the institutional nature of its function, as did its pastoral location within a picturesque designed landscape. In 1921, the Marion Branch became the Marion National Sanitarium, a facility dedicated to the treatment of World War I neuropsychiatric cases, including what was then called shell shock and other mental disorders. The emphasis throughout the NHDVS had been shifting from residential campuses to more sophisticated medical care for veterans. The hospital and numerous other buildings were renovated at this time.
After 1930 the Marion Branch continued to specialize in psychiatric care as part of the Veterans Administration. The original hospital and many of the barracks were still used for patients until new psychiatric facilities were built on the west side of the site. Since vacated during the 1980s, Building No. 21 has fallen into severe disrepair and will be demolished during 2012.
Survey number: HABS IN-306-B
Building/structure dates: 1892-1893 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1920-1921 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 2012 Demolished
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 99000833