Another storied chapter in Region history faces demolition.
The city of Gary plans to raze the long-abandoned St. John's Hospital, which was built in 1929 during an era of segregation to serve the city's black community at a time when they were not welcome at "white hospitals." The decrepit hospital building at 22nd Avenue and Massachusetts Street in Midtown had been vacant since it closed in 1950, and was repeatedly named one of Indiana's most endangered buildings by Indiana Landmarks in recent years.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the long-decaying structure was so badly deteriorated that razing it was necessary for safety, since it could potentially collapse.
"No matter how many basketball courts you have in the city, kids want to play somewhere dangerous," she said.
The city aims to tear down St. John this year, but will try to salvage some of the facade and establish a historic marker to recognize the site's significance, she said.
The roof and part of the second floor of the red-brick building have caved in. Brick is crumbled. Windows are broken and crammed with wooden debris. Overgrowth of trees and shrubbery have been swallowing up what's left of the structure.