On the hunt for some of the best and most intriguing abandoned buildings in Indiana? Look no further, for we’ve combed through the endless open miles of the Hoosier state for our picks for the most downright stunning abandoned buildings you can find in the state. Here are just a few. Most of them are in Gary – which means you won’t have to do
too much wandering to see most of them!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. The Post Office - Gary
The Gary, Indiana, Post Office was built in 1936. Gary, at that time, was a booming town - but following the collapse of the steel industry in the 1960s, Gary rapidly declined, resulting in this building (and many others on this list) being completely abandoned. The post office officially closed its doors forever in the 1970s.
2. Ambassador Apartments - Gary
Our next stop in Gary takes us to the beautiful-but-eerie remains of an upscale apartment complex. You read that correctly - Gary was once home to upscale apartments, and these were no different. Built in 1928 as apartments for steel mill management and their families, the apartments were eventually used as housing for low-income households in the 1970s, or perhaps a bit earlier. The Ambassador Apartments officially ceased to exist in 1985, and only the husk of the place is left.
3. The Palace Theater- Gary
This once-mighty Vaudeville theatre was a symbol of the booming entertainment industry of Gary in the 1930s. The Palace Theatre opened in 1925 and was vibrantly alive, even throughout the switch from Vaudeville shows to motion pictures in the '30s.
It seated 3,000 patrons, and the architecture was truly something to behold. Unfortunately, much like most of the now-derelict locations in Gary, it did not fare well when the steel industry collapsed. Crime rates in the neighborhoods around the theater skyrocketed, and in 1968, a teenager was stabbed to death in the lobby. The theater officially closed in 1972, and despite numerous attempts to breathe new life into the building, it stands abandoned and oft-forgotten.
4. City Methodist Church - Gary
Another deceased symbol of the once-was that drowns Gary is the remarkably beautiful remains of the City Methodist Church. It was built in 1925 and opened in 1926, and at its peak, it had more than 1700 members.
Predictably, the enormous decline in Gary's economy did not spare City Methodist, though it died a much slower death than other establishments. By 1973, its membership numbers had dwindled down into the low 300s. Finally, in 1975, the church closed its doors for good.
5. St. Mary's Mercy Hospital - Gary
Founded and run in part by nuns in 1908, St. Mary's Mercy Hospital underwent explosive development in its early decades as Gary's economy rocketed into space. All good things must come to an end, however, and St. Mary's, too, was forced to shut down in 1995, considerably later than many other major places of business in town.
6. Horace Mann School - Gary
This one is a two-for-one, as there's an abandoned elementary school right next door to this one. Horace Mann School opened in 1928 and during its lifetime, it saw more than 75 graduating classes. It had multiple gyms and multiple pools, and the grounds were so lovely that it looked more like a park than a campus.
In 1929, the school had a body of more than 850 students. By 1937, it boasted more than 2,400 students. Eventually, in 1956, the school's population his capacity, and the adjacent elementary school was built to accommodate the overflow. Of course, this didn't last, and gradually, the school's class sizes declined. Finally, in 2004, both schools shut down and closed.
7. Bush Stadium - Indianapolis
We now leave Gary for the capital city of Indianapolis. Indy has quite a few historic buildings, many of which are abandoned. This one, Bush Stadium, was the official home of the Indianapolis Indians in 1931. Originally called Perry Stadium, Bush Stadium underwent several name changes and eventually, in 2013, was partially converted into apartment buildings. Plenty of the old-school stadium still stands, though, and you can almost hear the crowds at games past in the air sometimes.
8. Muscatatuck State Developmental Center - Butlerville
This particular place in Butlerville harbors a dark past - at one time, it was known as a "farming colony" for "feeble-minded youths," a cruel way to describe boys with developmental disabilities. Over time, the campus began accepting female patients as well, and they eventually changed their name to something only slightly more palatable: The Muskatatuck State Developmental Center. However, allegations of patient abuse persisted until its permanent closure in 2005. Part of the property is now utilized as a military training center; however, it's well known that hundreds of patients are still buried on the grounds.
That's right, just... houses. Indiana is absolutely packed with abandoned and decaying houses, homesteads, barns, buildings, quarries, and more. For example, the above house, a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Gary, burned to the point of destruction in 2006, but it still stands.
It seems like anywhere you choose to go, you'll find beautiful, dilapidated, and decaying buildings, so keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel - you'll probably find some no matter where you are!
We strongly advise against going into any of these abandoned buildings unless you have the necessary permits or permissions. Entering any of them without permission is considered trespassing. Instead, enjoy their beauty from the street or through photographs.
Do you have any favorite areas to indulge your urban exploring itch? What are they?