Linda Vista: The Ruins of an Abandoned Los Angeles Hospital

By Ransom Riggs

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. 


LV4.jpgCountless 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. 

LV5.jpgMany 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? 

LV14.jpg Old hospital beds clog some of the hallways. 

LV15.jpgLV16.jpgLV17.jpgFancy a bath? Like most sinks and toilets in the hospital, this tub is brimming with inches of pigeon droppings. 

LV18.jpgRelative 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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/08/linda-vista-the-ruins-of-an-abandoned-los-angeles-hospital/260592/