Abandoned Places In Indiana That Anyone Can Explore
Abandoned building explorers in the state of Indiana who are looking for places near them to explore, you have an almost never-ending selection of derelict buildings to choose from.
A quick search on Youtube will yield you thousands of videos of adventurous explorers taking a personal tour of your state’s forgotten buildings.
From the City Methodist Church to the famous Union Station to the Reid Memorial Hospital, and even a few abandoned high schools, these are only a few of the thousands of fascinating and creepy abandoned places in Indiana for you to explore.
A Few Of The Best Abandoned Places In Indiana
The locations that I’m going to share with you are a few that are considered the best places to explore.
They each have their own uniqueness that makes them special. In both a creepy and interesting way. Some of the locations on this list are in danger of being demolished.
If you would like to explore any of these places you should go as soon as you can. Otherwise, they could be gone forever.
1. City Methodist Church – Gary
Built-in 1929, the City Methodist Church in Gary cost over 1 million dollars to build. ($15M in today’s currency)
The building has very intricate stonework, beautiful arches, stunning ornate pillars, and colorful stained-glass windows. It served nearly 2,000 individuals at its peak.
The church fell to low attendance numbers as the town’s population dwindled in the mid-70s. It went from thousands of worshippers to mere hundreds in the span of a few months.
The cost to upkeep the church was becoming too much. A section of the church was rented to a local university, but still, the cost to maintain the lights on in the Methodist Church was too much.
It closed for good in 1975.
It quickly became a target for vandalism and robbery. The church has been featured in big-name Hollywood movies, such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Transformers.
It has also become a favorite spot for many urban explorers in Indiana. You can find countless videos on YT of fearless explorers taking a peek around this forgotten church.
Since it was left to rot, it’s become known as one of the coolest abandoned places in Indiana.
2. The Palace Theater – Gary
In 1924, the population of the city of Gary was rapidly growing in numbers.
This theater for the booming city was opened on November 26, 1925, at 791 Broadway St for a grand total cost of $1 million. It had a 2,500-seat capacity and offered live stage shows, vaudeville acts, and movies from noon until midnight.
The theater was designed in an atmospheric style that was meant to resemble European courtyards or gardens. This was done to make the audience feel like they were immersed in the shows rather than an observer from a distance.
The good fortunes of Gary, Indiana, began a sharp decline in the early ’60s when thousands of steelworkers were being fired. Crime started happening throughout the city and the theater struggled to attract new customers.
Attacks and muggings became common in the area, and it quickly developed a reputation as a place of violence. A young boy was brutally murdered in the main lobby of the theater in April 1968.
On January 3, 1972, the Palace Theater was shut down. Several attempts to revive it occurred in the years after its closing but they were unsuccessful.
Today, the theater stands in a perpetual state of disrepair. Time has not been kind to the once-great Palace Theater. Its main venue now stands abandoned and ravaged by time and the elements.
The interior is fully decayed and pitch black except for some bit of sunlight that spills through the broken windows and roof. The basement is inaccessible due to flooding.
The balcony level is completely unstable and not safe to explore. It’s sad to see a once charming theater in such a radical state of decay. The theater has no plans of being renovated anytime soon.
3. Federal Post Office – Gary
The now-abandoned post office building in Gary, Indiana, was opened in 1936 as a milestone of President Roosevelt’s New Deal construction program.
It closed down 30 years later sometime in the 70s due to economic decline in the area. It’s been sitting completely empty for decades and has garnered the reputation of being among the coolest abandoned places in Indiana to explore.
Today the post office sorting room is covered in moss, vines, graffiti, and overgrown grass. The floor is littered with dust, dirt, and debris from years of neglect.
The large multi-level building sits dilapidated in the once-thriving city. Its rectangular building stands tall and upright with 3 big slated skylights.
The building is full of graffiti, and trash and the walls are covered in dirt and moss. The basement is completely empty with nothing but pillared columns barely holding the structure together.
Several old safes with worn-out combination locks remain behind, but not holding anything of value. The post office has become a sort of must-see place if you’re an urban explorer visiting the abandonments of Gary.
4. The Mahencha Apartments – Gary
Located at 1900 West 5th Avenue across from the Horace Mann High School (also abandoned), the Mahencia Apartments once housed high-level city officials and prominent businessmen.
The prestigious apartments were built to house Gary’s elite, such as the mayor, Martin Katz. It was constructed in 1928 and featured a grand Spanish-inspired design complete with an asymmetrical tower.
The 4-floor u-shaped complex was built with red brick and stone and contains 31 rooms with a beautiful courtyard in the rear. Years of neglect from its owners would be one of the many reasons the apartments would close down.
After its closure, homeless people and drug abusers would use the apartment for their own benefit. Prostitution was a recurring problem, alongside vandalism and theft.
The apartments were auctioned off but no one wanted to buy them because of the reputation they had earned. Today the apartments lay in a complete state of decay.
Water damage, mold, broken windows, and fixtures falling off the walls are all present in this once-luxurious apartment building.
You can find videos on Youtube of urban explorers taking a peek inside this apartment.
5. Salesians Preparatory School – Cedar Lake
A Catholic prep school with a chilling history sits fully abandoned, covered in graffiti and debris from its failing structure.
The prep school is said to be haunted by young boys who were supposedly tortured by a deranged catholic priest who headed the school. Opened in the 1950s as a boy’s junior and senior high school.
The prep school ran for nearly 20 years before closing its doors in the late 1970s. There were attempts to revive the school but none were successful.
Attempts to make other uses of this building include a health care facility, youth center, religious institution, and most recently a haunted house and a paintball range. Unfortunately, nothing ever really stuck.
There are rumors that you can hear the screams of the boys who were mistreated during their time attending this school. Time has definitely done a number on this building.
Broken windows, overgrown foliage, and graffiti are all present in this building, all of which have made it one of the creepiest abandoned places in Indiana.
Because of the creepy history of this prep school, it is a favorite among locals as a MUST place to explore.
6. Union Station – Gary
Built in 1910, 5 years after the city of Gary was founded, the Union Station is located between the lines of the Norfolk Southern and CSX Railroads at 251 Broadway Gary, Indiana.
This Union Station was used to transport thousands of workers who came from around the country to work the steel mills in NW Indiana. The station is a two-story building. But half of the 2nd floor has caved in due to time and neglect.
On the north side of the property, there is a tunnel leading under the train tracks leading to a stairway to the loading platform. Attempts to revive the union station are ongoing but that hasn’t stopped urban explorers from taking a peep inside.
Not a single window in the station is intact – all broken by vandals and the elements. The outside of the building is in surprisingly good condition for a building as old as this one.
Inside the building is a completely different story. Rusted steel, dust, and falling debris cover most of the floor on the inside.
The staircase at the rear that leads to the 2nd floor is rusted and completely unsafe to climb.
7. The Mudlavia Hotel – Kramer
The Mudlavia hotel, originally called Indiana Springs Company, is a complex built in 1884 by a Civil War veteran, Samuel Story, near the town of Kramer in Warren County, Indiana.
It is built near the site of a natural water spring that supposedly had healing properties. He discovered the natural spring when digging in a drainage ditch.
It is said Samuel Story drank from the spring and found out his rheumatism symptoms had gradually disappeared. He decided to build his hotel near the spring to exploit the spring water’s healing properties. It was a hit.
Celebrities from around the world would come and stay at the Mudlavia Hotel. It is rumored that Al Capone, John Dillinger, and other famous gangsters + celebrities would come and stay at this very hotel.
The Mudlavai Hotel flourished until the 1920s when a fire broke out and burned down the main building. It was rebuilt and operated as a rest home for the elderly which also burned down in 1968.
It would go on to be rebuilt once again as a hotel, but as fate would have it, it burned down AGAIN for the 3rd time in 1974. Some people say the property is cursed, but it could also be a coincidence.
It would close its doors permanently in 1975. Today it sits empty and alone, known among locals as one of the most unfortunate abandoned places in Indiana.
Its interior is fully decayed, rotting, and falling apart.
The structure itself is not safe and some people say it is not safe to go there due to dark demonic entities, which some people believe is what caused these mysterious fires.
8. St. Mary’s Mercy Hospital – Gary
The St. Mary’s Mercy Hospital was the hospital where Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958.
It was built in 1908, 2 years after the founding of the city of Gary. It started as a 20-room building which would see multiple additions and renovations to the building to accommodate the growing population of Gary.
For decades St. Mary Mercy Hospital would be a premier healthcare facility in Gary. Like everything else in Gary, Mary Mercy’s fortunes would rise and fall with the steel industry.
The decline arguably began in the 1960s; the hospital began contracting when the population growth trends of Gary reversed.
When the fortunes of Gary turned and the citizens fled, the hospital became economically superfluous; the reduced population base could not financially support operations.
The debt-ridden facility endured a slow and painful contraction before finally closing in 1995.
Several attempts were made to reuse the building, including the moving of the city’s police department into the newest wing–but half of the complex was never re-appropriated and left vacant.
Today, the remaining structure has deteriorated and is likely beyond repair. The hospital is not closed off and urban explorers routinely make their way inside.
9. The Horace Mann High School – Gary
When it was opened in 1928, Horace Mann High School set a high standard for other public schools in the area.
It featured 50 classrooms, 2 libraries, an auditorium, a cafeteria, a refectory, two gyms, two indoor pools, and a man-made pond in front of the school. The school graduated over 75 classes of students since it was opened.
It managed to produce 1 Nobel prize winner and a famous NFL player. At its height, it had well over 2 thousand active students. When the city population declined so did the enrollment at the school.
In 2004 the school board voted to shut down and until this day it stands vacant and crumbling. It’s become a cool spot for explorers to check out.
If you were to visit today you’d see the building in complete shambles. Metal salvagers have stripped the building of pipes and conduits while some vandals have left their mark by adding graffiti and destroying whatever they come across.
The Horace Mann High School is on many people’s list of must-explore abandoned places in Indiana.
10. The Ralph Waldo Emerson School – Gary
The Ralph Waldo Emerson School, located at 751 E 7th Ave, was Gary’s first high school, built-in 1907.
The school featured all the latest amenities at the time. It was among the most advanced of its kind.
It was the first school in the area to have an indoor swimming pool and a double-deck gym with an upstairs running track. The Emerson School flourished for decades but it experienced a constant decline in enrollment year after year.
In 1981 the student admission was so low that the district was forced to close down as a high school and re-open as a school for visual and performing arts centers.
In 2008, the school would be closed down due to a serious mold problem that was making the students sick. When the school closed, very little was removed before it was abandoned.
Students’ files, books, instruments, equipment, and furniture were all left behind. The now decrepit 3-story building today sits completely destroyed and forgotten.
In 1995 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, preventing it from being demolished.
Final Thoughts on Abandoned Places in Indiana
If you’re an urban explorer in the Indiana area you have a ton of places to explore. The famous city of Gary alone is FULL of abandoned sites. I only mentioned a small handful of them in this article.
Several hundred, perhaps thousands more are still left standing waiting for the next adventurous explorer to take a peek inside.
Lots of the abandoned sites in this post are so old they most likely contain mold, asbestos, and other toxic materials. Remember to take your respirator mask!