Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Photo Essay: Linda Vista Community Hospital, Abandoned, Exterior
I have been wanting to explore Linda Vista Hospital since I first started visiting LA on a regular basis.
It is notoriously haunted and creepy - so much so that it's often used for ghost-hunting TV shows, horror films and music videos.
But, although it's closed for business, it's not abandoned per se: it is guarded by 24 hour security, and rented out regularly to location scouts for shoots.
So, I wasn't optimistic about being able to break in.
And it's not in the greatest neighborhood of LA, though since riding my bike through Boyle Heights during CicLAvia last year, I was less intimidated to go there by myself.
I thought I could at least skulk around the exterior of the building, photographing its peeling paint...
...and rusted metal.
It looks ominous enough.
I tried peering into windows, but was afraid of what might look back out at me.
Linda Vista is actually the second incarnation of the hospital which one stood here. Originally built for railroad employees and opened in 1904, Santa Fe Railroad Hospital was razed and rebuilt in 1924, and renamed "Linda Vista" in 1937.
It looks hospitable enough.
Closed in 1991 after decades of decline, there are remnants of overgrowth and creeping vines everywhere along the building's facade.
Although Hollenbeck Park is across the street, and a residential neighborhood surrounds it, the looming structure feels industrial and cold, foreboding.
As I was photographing the backside of the building, a police car pulled up alongside the road. I heard someone call out "Excuse me...", and turned around to see an officer waving me towards him.
"You taking pictures?" he asked me.
"Yeah," I responded sheepishly. "Is that OK?"
"Yeah," he said. "Want to go inside?"
My eyes lit up. "Can you...get me...inside?"
"Well no," he said, cocking an eyebrow, "My contact doesn't work there anymore. But sometimes there are people there, and if you ask, they'll let you in..."
"Really?" I'd seen some workers moving in and out of the front door earlier, but I hadn't been emboldened enough to storm the castle.
"Yeah, maybe," the officer said, and then advised me to be careful walking around the neighborhood by myself, and drove off on his slow patrol.
And so, feeling permitted, I approached the front door...
...which was open...
...and walked in.
Stay tuned for a glimpse at the interior of Linda Vista Community Hospital.
Photo Essay: Pico House Ghost Hunt
Photo Essay: Abandoned Greenpoint Hospital
Photo Essay: Ellis Island Psychiatric Hospital
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