Clio Logo
Indy Culture and History
Item 12 of 15
This historic marker is located at the first spot of St. Vincent's Infirmary, one of the largest Catholic Health Ministries in Indiana. The infirmary was located here from 1881-1889. Deeming the building to be too small for its increasing numbers, a fundraiser was held for a larger building. The infirmary was moved to the South and Delaware streets area. It was at this located that the infirmary received its most famous patient in 1902: US President Teddy Roosevelt, who was suffering from an infected cut to his shin. With industry rapidly taking over Indianapolis, the infirmary moved again in 1913 to the north side of Fall Creek Boulevard between Capitol Avenue and Illinois Street. There it became a full fledged hospital and moved again in 1974 to its current location of West 86th Street. In 2007, former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, was instrumental in the creation of the Children's Hospital at St. Vincent's.

  • This image from about 1887, shows the first location of St. Vincent's Infirmary (1881-1889). Source: Thurman B. Rice, "The Catholic Hospitals," in One Hundred Years of Medicine: Indianapolis, 1820-1920 (1949).
  • 1887 City Block Map showing the location of St. Vincent's at the lower righthand corner. Source: IUPUI Center for Digital Scholarship. Creator: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
  • The Little Sisters of the Poor religious order's Home of the Aged Poor was at 520 East Vermont Street, sharing the city block with the first location of St. Vincent's Infirmary, and long survived it. Source: Indiana Medical History Museum.
  • Aerial View, 1982. The first St. Vincent's Infirmary (1881-1889) stood in the southeast quadrant of the city block (lower left in this photo). Image courtesy of Indianapolis Star, January 31, 1982.
  • Post Card, 1910: The second location of St. Vincent's Infirmary (background, with central tower). Source: Vincentiana Collection, DePaul University Special Collections, Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1908 Indianapolis Star headline on the Prest-O-Lite explosion and fire. Victims were treated at St. Vincent's (at its second location). Image source: Indianapolis Star June 7, 1908.
  • With a name change to St. Vincent Hospital, a new facility on the north side of Fall Creek Boulevard between Capitol Avenue and Illinois Street opened in 1913.In 2012, the old hospital building, became the headquarters of Ivy Tech Community.
  • Front side of marker
  • Back side of marker
  • Vincent C. Caponi, the Chief Executive Officer at St. Vincent's and Msgr. Joseph Schaedel, Vicar General welcomed the new marker in 2008.
  • Sister Catherine Kelly (second from right), one of the oldest surviving nuns of the hospital, was among those who attended and participated in the ceremony in 2008.
  • In a photo from Harper’s Weekly, Soldiers stand watch outside of St.Vincent (third location) during Teddy Roosevelt’s 1902 surgery. Photo: courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.
  • Bishop Silas Francis Chatard, who was instrumental in the creation of St. Vincent's
  • Firefighters battle the blaze from the Prest-O-Lite blast that helped drive St. Vincent’s north. Victims were helped at the Infirmary's second location. It moved 5 years later. Photo: courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society
History of St. Vincent's Infirmary provided by Gail Gráinne Whitchurch of Indiana University-Purdue University of Indiana:

This state historic marker near the northwest corner of East Vermont Street and North Park Avenue commemorates the first location of St. Vincent's Infirmary. From 1881-1889, the first location was here and, from 1889-1913, the second location was at the southeast corner of East South Street and South Delaware Street.

St. Vincent's Infirmary: First Location, 1881-1889

In the late 1880s this city block, bounded by East, Michigan, Liberty (now Park Avenue), and Vermont Streets, had a brick perimeter wall--parts of which are intact. This eastern half of the block contained the original St. Joseph Catholic Church (later moved to the southwest corner of College Avenue and North Street) and its seminary. In 1881, a vacant seminary building became St. Vincent's Infirmary when six sisters from the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul came from Maryland to establish a medical facility at the request of then-Bishop Silas Chatard.

Some city residents had deemed a hospital in a residential area a "public nuisance," with concerns such as adequacy of the city water supply and sewers for removing hospital waste: "[F]oul air constantly escaping, impregnating persons along the line of flow with the seeds of disease." Bishop Chatard, who had been a physician before his ordination, responded that hospitals needed to be located where they could serve the greatest number of people. He wrote that he intended that St. Vincent's Infirmary not be permanently located in the seminary building, stating his hope that Indianapolis citizens would "take enough interest in this work to enable those connected with it to buy a suitable site elsewhere, and there build [a larger] edifice . . . ." Just as he envisioned, St. Vincent's Infirmary outgrew its space rapidly so, between 1887 and 1889, a larger $111,000 facility was constructed about a mile to the south.

St. Vincent's Infirmary: Second Location, 1889-1913

Located at the southeast corner of East South Street and South Delaware Street, the second St. Vincent's Infirmary stood four stories high, with 38 private rooms and eight open wards providing space for 150 patients. The most famous patient was President Theodore Roosevelt, treated there on September 23, 1902, for an infected cut on his shin. Nevertheless, St. Vincent's Infirmary continued to treat patients who could not afford to pay.

In 1902, St. Vincent's Infirmary was hailed as one of the "three great hospitals of the city"--a far cry from the public nuisance that had been feared. The South and Delaware Streets region was Indianapolis's medical hub, with numerous related facilities nearby, such as Eli Lilly and Company. By the 1910s, however, it had become an industrial area: railroad tracks and train sheds had been built across the street to the north, and the dangerous acetylene-compression Prest-o-Lite factory was immediately adjacent to the south. Noise, dirt, and danger contributed to the decision to move St. Vincent's away from the city center in 1913. The old infirmary building subsequently served a variety of purposes, and was finally demolished in 1958.

St. Vincent Hospital Locations: 1913 to the Present

With a name change to St. Vincent's Hospital, a new facility was built on the north side of Fall Creek Boulevard between Capitol Avenue and Illinois Street. The hospital remained there until 1974, when it moved to its current location at 2001 West 86th Street. In 2012, the old hospital building on Fall Creek Boulevard, heavily renovated, became the headquarters of Ivy Tech Community College.

Gail Gráinne Whitchurch, “St. Vincent's Infirmary,” Discover Indiana, accessed March 9, 2017,

 "St. Vincent Hospital & Health Services" (PDF). Indiana History. Indiana Historical Society. 2016-06-23

 "Children's hospital named after Peyton Manning"