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The Sylvia Likens House: Its Grisly Location and History

Ever driven by that seemingly abandoned house in your neighbourhood and wondered about its history? We all have one of those places that pique our curiosity. This unassuming house hides a chilling secret in its past that still haunts the area today.

When their parents had to travel for work in 1965, Gertrude Baniszewski took care of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens and her sister Jenny. What happened behind those doors and in the basement of that house is almost too horrific to comprehend. Gertrude, along with her children and neighborhood kids, subjected Sylvia to unimaginable torture and abuse over three months that ultimately led to her death.

The details of Sylvia’s ordeal didn’t come to light until Gertrude’s trial the following year. Over 50 years later, the Sylvia Likens house remains an ominous reminder of the evil that once lived within its walls. Are you brave enough to drive by at night? It is rumoured that Sylvia’s spirit still haunts the land, serving as a reminder of the terrible memories this mansion contains.

Specifications: Sylvia Likens House


Bedrooms 2
Bathrooms 1
Square Feet N/A
Sylvia Likens Address East New York Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

The Infamous Location of the Sylvia Likens House

The house in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Sylvia Likens was tortured and killed still stands, even though it appears to be considerably different now. Located at 3850 East New York Street, the white, two-story house was once the home of Gertrude Baniszewski, who oversaw and participated in the abuse and eventual killing of 16-year-old Sylvia in 1965.

  • The wood-framed mansion, which dates back to the early 1900s, has undergone renovations throughout the years, but it still has a somber past. Neighbors reported hearing screams coming from the residence but did nothing to intervene.
  • The property changed hands several times following the high-profile trial that led to life imprisonment for Gertrude and prison sentences for her children and neighborhood boys who partook in the violence. Many considered 3850 East New York Street cursed and the value plummeted.
  • The house survived the 1990s despite being on the verge of destruction. It remains a private residence to this day, though under a different street number. 
  • For those interested in the shocking case, the Sylvia Likens House still looms as a grim reminder of the atrocities once committed behind its walls. 

Estimated Worth and Condition of the Likens House Today

You’re curious about the terrible history of the Sylvia Likens house and what became of the infamous property. Given the notoriety of its dark past, the current market value is likely significantly lower today.

The condition of the premises remains rather rundown. Many who have visited the location report. The house shows clear signs of aging and neglect. Broken windows, peeling paint, and an unkempt yard seem to be the norm. 

It should come as no surprise that the Likens house has not been occupied much since the horrifying events of 1965, given its notorious notoriety. Most agree that demolishing the property altogether would be the most respectful option.

While the value and state of the Likens house may be of interest to the morbidly curious, most find the topic too disturbing to explore further. Understandably, the focus should remain on honoring the memory of Sylvia Likens, the innocent victim of unimaginable evil who suffered and ultimately lost her life within those walls. Though the house still stands, her story serves as a caution for society, reminding us of humanity’s potential for depravity if we fail in our duty to protect the vulnerable.

Layout and Description of Rooms in the Home

The home where Sylvia Likens endured her torture. The eventual murder is located at 3850 East New York Street in Indianapolis. The small, two-story house looks unassuming from the outside But its walls hold dark secrets of the evil acts that took place within.


The first floor consists of a living room, kitchen, and two bedrooms. Often, Sylvia would spend days at a time confined to the living room with no access to food, water, or a bathroom. Gertrude Baniszewski and her kids would eat in the little kitchen, giving Sylvia crumbs if any food at all. One of the bedrooms on this level belonged to Paula Baniszewski, who participated in the abuse.


A narrow staircase leads to two additional bedrooms and a bathroom on the upper level. Marie and Shirley Banisewski, who also participated in Sylvia’s torture, shared the larger bedroom. Gertrude and her boyfriend occupied the smaller bedroom.

Sylvia had to force herself to finish a glass of Coca-Cola. This happened in the upstairs restroom. Just one of the many inhumane acts of abuse she endured in this house of horrors.

After Sylvia’s death in October 1965, public outrage led to the prosecution and conviction of Gertrude Baniszewski and Richard Hobbs. The house still stands today, a grim reminder of the evil that took place within its walls over 50 years ago. For now, it remains a house with a chilling history that won’t soon be forgotten.

The Basement and Washroom Where the Abuse Occurred

The basement and washroom of the Likens house were where much of the horrific abuse took place. The basement was dark, dingy, and cramped, measuring only 20 by 15 feet.

Gertrude would dunk Sylvia’s head under cold water in the bathtub and hold it there until she nearly drowned. Paula and other neighborhood children would then drag Sylvia up the basement stairs by her hair to the living room.

They would slam her into the concrete floor, often rendering her unconscious. Richard Hobbs was also frequently in the basement, carving into Sylvia’s skin. With a heated needle to brand her, or help Gertrude break Sylvia’s bones.

The Likens house still stands today, though it has changed ownership several times. Many see it as a monument to the immense suffering of Sylvia Likens. Her ordeal in that house, especially the basement and washroom, serves as a grim warning against indifference to human suffering.

FAQs about Sylvia Likens House

You’ve probably heard all about the disturbing case of Sylvia Likens, the 16-year-old girl. Who was tortured and murdered in Indianapolis back in 1965? The house where these gruesome events took place still stands today, though it looks quite different. Many who know the tragic story of Sylvia Likens remain fascinated yet repulsed by the property. If you’re curious to know more about this sinister site, here are some commonly asked questions:

Who owns the Sylvia Likens house now?

The house is currently privately owned by a couple who bought it in 2009. They were aware of its history before purchasing and do not live in the home. It remains unoccupied to this day.

Has the layout or appearance of the house changed since 1965? 

Indeed, over the years, substantial improvements have been performed. The outside has been remodeled in the style of the adjacent residences, the design has been changed, and rooms have been added and deleted. Almost everything that existed during Sylvia Likens’ imprisonment has been altered, eliminated, or rebuilt.

Do neighbors know about the house’s history?

Most current residents know at least some details about the home’s troubling past. The events that occurred there were highly publicized, and the property’s reputation lingers on. Some neighbors remain uneasy with such a grim chapter of history in their community.

Has the house been investigated by paranormal researchers?

Over the years, countless paranormal investigation teams have explored the property. Many report signs of supernatural activity like unexplained noises, apparitions, temperature changes, and equipment malfunctions. Skeptics argue there is little evidence to conclusively prove paranormal phenomena in the home. The stories continue to persist, however.

Will the Sylvia Likens house ever be demolished?

There are no known plans to demolish the property at this time. While some believe destroying such a site of suffering would be appropriate, others argue that preserving the home as a memorial ensures such atrocities are not forgotten. The debate around the fate of the house remains controversial and complex.

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That concludes the unsettling tale of Sylvia Likens’ home. the atrocities that took place there more than fifty years ago. Even yet, the home is still a private dwelling today. Its past will always serve as a somber reminder of the atrocities committed by humans. The next time you go by an old, unremarkable house, stop for a minute and consider the stories that may be hidden inside. You never know what mysteries may lie inside those walls. However, in 3850 East New York Street’s instance. Even if we wish we hadn’t, we now know the whole truth about what happened to Sylvia Likens. Her legacy endures as a constant reminder to all of us to be kind to those who are less fortunate.

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