Norways Hospital

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Norways Hospital
Opened 1898
Closed 1957
Demolished 1958
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Indianapolis, IN
Alternate Names
  • Dr. Sterne’s Sanatorium


Neurologist Dr. Albert E. Sterne purchased Clifford Place and opened Norways, a private sanatorium, in 1898. It was a hospital for people with nervous and mental disorders at a time when mental illness was starting to be understood as a disease. The facility attracted customers from across the country and, at an average price of $50 per week by 1918, this was an expensive stay. Advertising mentions that the sanatorium was for people who were “used to luxury.” Attendants treated all forms of “constitutional maladies,” (including rheumatism, diabetes, stomach and kidney troubles, paralysis, and drug addictions) particularly those cured by the use of electricity, baths, massage, diet, and rest. Norways was the first mental institution in the state to employ insulin, metrazol, and electric shock therapy. After Sterne’s death in 1931, Dr. Larue Carter served as the hospital’s chief consultant.

Early advertisements promoted the hospital’s ideal location next to the fountains, flowers, and trees in Woodruff Place and a short walk to Pogue’s Run Parkway (now Spades Park) and Brookside Park. The large tract of natural forest trees in Technical Institute Park protected Norways from the dust and odor of the city. This postcard, made before 1907, shows the beautifully landscaped grounds on the four-acre facility. Although first named Sterne’s Sanatorium, Dr. Sterne changed the name to Norways due to his love for the many large Norway maple trees on the property. Literature stresses that “at no time are undesirable patients allowed to mingle with those upon whom the slightest deleterious influence might be exerted through contact.” Mild mental patients were housed in separate structures. Norways was on the northeast corner of East Tenth and Sterling Streets.

A plan drawn by architect Edward D. Pierre indicates that Norways considered expanding in 1949, but the improvements were never made. Norways operated until 1957 when Kroger razed the old house and other structures to build a supermarket in 1958. By the 1970s the store was nicknamed the “Fellini Kroger” (after the Italian movie director) due to the colorful cast of customers similar to the eccentric characters in his movies. After a long run, Kroger closed in the spring of 2007 and leases the building to Teacher’s Treasures, a nonprofit group that provides free school supplies to teachers. [1]