Mental Floss

Linda Vista Revisited: East LA's Abandoned Hospital

Ransom Riggs
Ransom Riggs
Ransom Riggs / Ransom Riggs
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In 2008, while scouting for a short film that never came to fruition, some friends and I talked our way inside an empty, run-down hospital in Boyle Heights. The short was supposed to take place in a hospital, but after a few minutes wandering the halls of Linda Vista -- alone and decidedly creeped-out -- it became obvious that there was no way the place would work. It had been closed for twenty years, and it showed: there was dirt caked in layers on walls and mysteriously wet floors; windows were broken and doors hung off their hinges; ceiling tiles had fallen victim to moisture and gravity, and rats had chewed through the walls. We didn't have the money to make Linda Vista look like anything more than a horror movie -- a few of which had actually been shot there over the years.

I was only inside for 45 minutes or so, running through the place snapping photos on the fly with a crappy point-and-shoot. I featured some of them in this post from last year, but promised myself I would go back with a DSLR, a tripod and a few hours to kill, and really explore the place. A year later, I finally did.

boarded doors
boarded doors /

Click on photos to see larger sizes.

Linda Vista was a railroad hospital. Originally known as Santa Fe Coast Lines Hospital, it was constructed in 1905 to care for Santa Fe railroad workers who had been injured on the job.

Countless more files can be found downstairs in the death records room. Why thousands of highly personal records are allowed to molder in the basement of a defunct hospital, I don't know.

death records
death records /

Many of the rooms were painted with bright colors years ago; faded and peeled now, they make the place even more surreal.

palm trees
palm trees /

Someone left a safety razor behind.

razor
razor /

The halls are endless and mazelike; it's easy to get lost.

hallway to heaven
hallway to heaven /

Down in the boiler room.

basement cart
basement cart /

Cheerful graffiti:

die
die /

Dumbwaiters are everywhere.

dumbwaiter
dumbwaiter /

More dumbwaiters:

toppled chair
toppled chair /

Art directors have had their way with this room.

the end is near
the end is near /

An old lobby chair?

yellow chair
yellow chair /

Old hospital beds clog some of the hallways.

beds
beds /

Other random junk:

boxes of junk
boxes of junk /

Detail of random junk in random box:

box of bandaids
box of bandaids /

Fancy a bath? Like most sinks and toilets in the hospital, this tub is brimming with inches of pigeon droppings.

bathtub
bathtub /

Relative normalcy -- and a beautiful park -- are just across the street.

RV out window
RV out window /

I didn't meet him, whoever he is. Thank goodness.

I live in the walls
I live in the walls /

You can check out more Strange Geographies columns here.

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