History of IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

In the late 1800s, the five Ball brothers from Buffalo, New York moved their glass jar business to Muncie, Indiana, following the promise of free natural gas and an enthusiastic local workforce. The Ball family moved into philanthropic endeavors soon after the glass jar business became successful. The eldest of the five brothers, Edmond B. Ball, had a keen interest in improving the quality of health care in Muncie, and when he died in 1925, his will established the Ball Brothers Foundation and provided the funding for a modern, public hospital.

The plan was to construct three buildings on the outskirts of Muncie, and because it was to be a teaching hospital, primarily for training nurses, locating it across from the local college was a logical choice. Ground was broken in 1927 and the main structure, with accommodations for 142 patients, was completed and opened in August of 1929.

The original 1929 facility boasted a host of modern innovations, including adjustable height-beds, solariums, a surgical amphitheatre, laboratory, x-ray facility, emergency room and the option of private patient rooms for $5 per day.

Over the years, Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital continued to grow in size and complexity to meet the needs of the local community. By the 1970s, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital had become a regional referral center for East Central Indiana with capabilities for open heart surgery, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and a growing graduate medical education program and residency programs. With the opening of the North Tower in 1979, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital offered a 642-bed capacity, expanded surgical suites, and was home to a regional laboratory service.

When the new South Tower and John W. Fisher Heart Center opened in 2009, it ushered in a new era for healthcare in East Central Indiana. It includes 108 new private patient rooms, innovatively designed to facilitate bedside care and accommodate present and future medical technology.

Today, the original hospital structure is entirely gone, replaced with modern facilities. Much has changed in the practice of medicine, and in technology. But the original mission of IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital remains unchanged - to provide the best in healthcare services to the communities we serve.