Ghost Towns and Forgotten Places: Indiana’s Abandoned Sites

Indiana is a state known for its rich history and vibrant communities. However, throughout its history, many towns and buildings have been abandoned and left to decay. These places offer a glimpse into the past and the stories that have been left behind. In this article, we will explore some of Indiana’s abandoned sites.

History of Abandoned Places in Indiana

Indiana has a long history of settlement, and the abandoned sites found throughout the state are a testament to that. Many of these sites have been abandoned due to economic changes, natural disasters, or other phenomena. Some are barely recognizable, but others still retain their architecture and beauty, despite their neglect. These abandoned places offer a unique perspective into how the state has changed over time.

Central State Hospital

Located on the west side of Indianapolis, the Central State Hospital was a state-run psychiatric hospital that opened in 1848. The hospital was once home to thousands of patients, but it has been abandoned since it closed in 1994. The buildings, which are now over 150 years old, have been left to decay, but their architecture and intricate design remains largely intact. The hospital was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, but has since been plagued with vandalism and theft.

Rose Island Amusement Park

Rose Island Amusement Park, located on the Ohio River near New Albany, was once one of Indiana’s premier amusements parks. The park opened in 1923 and offered a wide range of attractions, including a swimming pool, roller coaster, and dance hall. Unfortunately, the park was destroyed by a flood in 1937 and was never rebuilt. Today, all that remains are the park’s skeletal ruins and foundations.

West Baden Springs Hotel

The West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick was once among the most luxurious in the world. The hotel opened in 1855 and was redesigned in 1901 by architect Harrison Albright. The hotel boasted an impressive atrium with a 200-foot-high dome and was a favorite haunt of 19th-century celebrities and politicians. However, the hotel was abandoned in the 1930s and left to decay. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the hotel was restored to its former glory and reopened as a hotel and casino.

Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana is one of the most famous ghost towns in the state. The city was founded in 1906 and initially boomed thanks to a thriving steel industry. However, the city went into decline in the late 1960s, and many of its residents abandoned their homes and businesses. Today, Gary is a shadow of its former self, with entire neighborhoods left to decay and abandoned factories dotting the landscape.

The Masonic Temple

The Masonic Temple in Indianapolis is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. The temple was built in 1909 and was once the headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Indiana. However, the building has been abandoned since the late 1990s and has been a popular spot for urban explorers and ghost hunters. The temple’s ornate architecture and intricate design make it a popular spot for photographers and filmmakers.


Indiana is home to many abandoned sites, each with their own unique stories and histories. These places offer an opportunity to explore the state’s past and witness the effects of time and neglect. While these ghost towns and forgotten places may be forgotten by most, they continue to remain an essential part of Indiana’s heritage and culture.

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