Although presently home to a parking lot, this was the location of one of the largest and most opulent hotels in the region. The structure was not built as a hotel initially, but rather as a medical clinic and device maker known as the National Surgical Institute that treated patients and designed medical devices and surgical equipment. The building was completed in 1895 following a deadly 1892 fire that killed 19 patients and destroyed the company's previous headquarters. When complete, this building was home to researchers and physicians who were at the forefront of treatments for congenital deformities and they also created numerous medical devices. Unfortunately, efforts to recoup the considerable construction costs of this building led the company to bankruptcy by the end of the century. The building was converted to a hotel by 1900 and home to the Imperial Hotel between 1900 and 1914. The hotel changed hands during World War I, a time when it housed soldiers as they trained to become gunsmiths and mechanics. When it reopened after the war, the Imperial Hotel housed state legislators, and many of the city and state's most powerful men made deals at its ornate bar. The hotel changed names three times, but the story for each owner was similar. The building's maintenance costs led each of its tenants to financial problems, and the building was demolished in the late 1940s.
The Imperial Hotel, 1904. Photo held by the Library of Congress.
Indianapolis Then and Now: National Surgical Institute / Imperial Hotel http://historicindianapolis.com/indianapolis-then-and-now-national-surgical-institute-imperial-hotel-northwest-corner-of-w-ohio-street-and-capitol-avenue/ accessed 1/22/15