The Rehabilitation of Ball Nurses' Sunken Garden and Convalescent Park
Located just north of Michigan Street and west of Riley Outpatient Garage, lies a special parcel of land – Ball Gardens. Included among the National Register of Historic Places, Ball Gardens was conceived in 1929 as a space that would offer solitude, fresh air, and exercise to assist in the healing process – what is referred today as a therapeutic greenspace. The site's design was guided by the firm founded by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture and designer of New York's Central Park. It was designed specifically to serve the staff as well as patients and their families that use our hospitals.
IUPUI professor Doug Babb performs electronic music at a lunchtime concert at Ball Gardens.
Over the years, the gardens have fallen into a state of disrepair and IUPUI is currently in a campaign to raise the funds needed to rehabilitate the gardens. When restored, Ball Gardens will contain nearly 10 acres of greenspace including beautifully designed gardens, fountains, walking paths and a play garden for children and Riley patients and families to use, as well as for IUPUI students, faculty, and staff.
This garden is the only example in Indianapolis of a public garden design by The Olmsted Brothers and is the only remaining Olmsted Brothers planned garden and park designed for therapeutic and healing purposes in an urban medical campus setting that exists in the United States today. Because of changing trends in hospital design following World War II, all of the Olmsted gardens have been demolished or built upon, except IUPUI's Ball Nurses' Sunken Garden and Convalescent Park.