Indiana School for the Deaf, Indianapolis
Repurpose a Classic
Indiana was a pioneer in deaf education, creating one of the first free state schools for the deaf in the U.S. in 1846. When the school outgrew its downtown Indianapolis location in 1907, the state hired Rubush and Hunter to design a new facility.
Simpson Hall, one of the five surviving National Register-listed buildings in Rubush and Hunter’s original Neoclassical quadrangle-style campus. The 1911 building has been vacant for more than 30 years without maintenance and urgently needs stabilization. The legislature has appropriated nearly $1 million to demolish the structure.
Simpson Hall, the girls’ dorm, appeared on the 10 Most Endangered list from 1999-2005 with its companion Beecher Hall, the boys’ dorm. The state demolished Beecher in 2002.
Located at 1200 East 42nd Street, immediately north of Indiana State Fairgrounds, Simpson Hall overlooks the popular Monon Trail. “Despite its condition, we have several developers interested in repurposing the building as apartments,” says Mark Dollase, Indiana Landmarks’ Vice President of Preservation Services. “We’ll work to persuade the state and the Indiana School for the Deaf to invite developers’ proposals for reuse of the landmark.”
Saving threatened buildings takes teamwork. You can be a part of that team. Reach out to local leaders. Let them know these buildings are important to you. And support state and local preservation groups.