They Established a Hospital
Karen M. Vincent
Minnetrista Director of Collections
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Several days ago, a Ball State University student asked to interview me for a video she was making for a journalism class. Her project was Muncie history, and she wanted to talk about the Ball family. One of her questions was “What impact, besides Ball State University, did the Ball family have on Muncie?” There are many ways that the family made an impact, but we’ll start with another institution that carries the name “Ball.”
As early as 1905, Dr. Lucius L. Ball, his wife Sarah, and his brother Edmund saw the need for a public hospital for Muncie. They were joined by other like-minded citizens on the committee that helped established Home Hospital. By the early 1920s, it was apparent that a larger hospital was needed. Edmund promised his fellow members of Home Hospital’s Board of Trustees that if the Indiana State Legislature would authorize the building of a hospital in Delaware County, he would guarantee that there would be adequate funds to build it.
Unfortunately, Edmund died in 1925, but he did provide for both the hospital project and future community enhancements in his will with the establishment and funding of Ball Brothers Foundation. Within a few months of Edmund’s death, the Ball Memorial Hospital Association was formed with Frank, Lucius, and George on the board. Plans quickly progressed and ground was broken in June, 1927. The four-story hospital, which contained 142 patient beds and 18 bassinets, opened to great fanfare in August, 1929.
Groundbreaking for Ball Memorial Hospital, June 1927.
Since that time, the hospital has expanded tremendously and is now part of Indiana University Health system, but I’m sure that most people will continue to think of it simply as “Ball Hospital.”
minnetrista heritage collection
minnetrista collects the objects and archival material that document the people, places, events, organisations, businesses and industry of the region - in other words, the history of east central indiana.