Twenty years after the last patient left the grounds, the turn-of-the-century compound remains a telling anachronism.


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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 20 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.

Linda Vista was a railroad hospital, constructed in 1905 to care for Santa Fe railroad workers who had been injured on the job.

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This file, on top of a scattered pile on the third floor, seems to be the admittance form for one Charlie S. Plunk -- railroad conductor, born 1909, admitted October, 1972. 


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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. 

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

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Someone left behind a safety razor. 

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The halls are long and maze-like; it's easy to get lost. 

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Down in the boiler room 

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Dumbwaiters are everywhere. 

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Art directors have had their way with this room. 

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An old lobby chair? 

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Old hospital beds clog some of the hallways. 

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

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

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I didn't meet him, whoever he is. 


A version of this post originally appeared on Mental Floss, an Atlantic partner site.