National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Marion Branch, Building No. 24, 1700 East 38th Street, Marion, Grant County, IN
See HABS No. IN-306 for overview documentation. Additional individual building documentation in HABS No. IN-306-A through HABS No. IN-306-AR.
STORED OFF SITE AND ON SITE. mchr
Significance: Building No. 24 was constructed as a barracks for the Marion Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS) during 1895-96. The NHDVS was a federal institution authorized by Congress in 1865 and charged with caring for Civil War veterans disabled by their military service. 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. Founded in 1889 as the seventh NHDVS branch, the Marion Branch featured a picturesque campus of winding avenues and red brick Queen Anne buildings with wide porches and ornamental balustrades. By 1930 the NHDVS system had eleven branches and became part of the new Veterans Administration.
The original Marion Branch buildings were designed by the Dayton, Ohio architectural firm of Peters and Burns. Building No. 24 is also attributed to this firm because it features a Queen Anne/Colonial Revival architectural vocabulary consistent with the rest of the complex. 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. Building No. 24 was renovated and likely was converted from a barracks to a hospital annex at this time. After 1930 the Marion Branch continued to specialize in psychiatric care as part of the Veterans Administration. In 1936, Building No. 24 (then called Hospital Annex No. 1) was designated an Infirmary Building with 45 beds for chronic patients. 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. 24 has fallen into disrepair and has been slated for demolition.
Survey number: HABS IN-306-AA
Building/structure dates: 1895-1896 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1920-1921 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 99000833