In 1883, Indiana lawmakers voted to fund a new facility in Evansville to treat mentally ill patients. An old, densely wooded farm on Newburgh Road (now Lincoln Avenue), then three miles outside of the city, became the site of the Southern Indiana Hospital for the Insane and admitted its first two patients on October 30, 1890. Known as Woodmere in its early years, the hospital was renamed Evansville State Hospital in 1927.
Gardens, poultry and dairy farms, livestock, orchards and even a theater and chapel, which were spread out over nearly nine hundred acres, made the facility self-sufficient. A major fire in 1943 destroyed many buildings, and by 2008, all of the old structures had been razed.