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Ransom Riggs
Linda Vista Revisited: East LA’s Abandoned Hospital
by Ransom Riggs - July 7, 2009 - 7:30 AM

exteriorLast year, 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. Last week, I finally did.

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. I found this file on top of a scattered pile on the third floor — it seems to be the admittance form for one Charlie S. Plunk, railroad conductor, born 1909, admitted October, 1972.
patient record

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

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

Someone left a safety razor behind.

The halls are endless and mazelike; it’s easy to get lost.
hallway to heaven

Down in the boiler room.
basement cart

Cheerful graffiti:

Dumbwaiters are everywhere.

More dumbwaiters:
toppled chair

Art directors have had their way with this room.
the end is near

An old lobby chair?
yellow chair

Old hospital beds clog some of the hallways.

Other random junk:
boxes of junk

Detail of random junk in random box:
box of bandaids

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

Relative normalcy — and a beautiful park — are just across the street.
RV out window

I didn’t meet him, whoever he is. Thank goodness.
I live in the walls

More photos on my flickr page.

More weirdness on my Twitter page.

Comments (41)
  1. These are beautiful photos, Ransom! What an amazing series.

  2. I looked at the rest of the pictures you have. Thank you for not including the one with the dead rat. Seeing that I would have ran, never to return. Awesome pics!

  3. These photos are amazing!! What camera did you use?

  4. Dude, I totally hope you took that safety razor with when you left. It looked like it still has a few shaves left in it. Waste not, want not.

  5. Fantastic pics you’ve got here! I couldn’t help but think of Diary of the Dead the entire time.

    p.s. The guy in the walls doesn’t sound so bad, but I might have to start charging the guy in my heart rent…….

  6. Thanks, guys!

    @ KerriD:
    I had two, an EOS 40D and a 5D, and some wide-ish lenses. A few of these are subtle HDR photos — three or more bracketed exposures of the same scene taken on a tripod and blended together to get more even tones than one normally could with a digital camera. Really helps when you’re shooting in dark rooms lit by bright sunlight.

  7. Very cool! Thank you for sharing!

  8. I really like the one in the chapel. It looks relatively untouched compared to the rest of the place.

  9. Wow.. Amazing pictures.. I actually think the records room is one of the creepier shots..

  10. These are really fantastic. I love the razer and the boiler room shots.

  11. If it’s old and moldy, why is it still there? Why don’t they demolish the building?

  12. Wow that place looks awesome! It’s weird but I love the haunted feeling of decrepit buildings, and I love that it has dumbwaiters and old style furniture–the dated materials just make it more fascinating. Thanks for showing us.

  13. I’ve lived in LA all my life and I never knew about this hospital. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. the city is full of secrets and treasures.

  14. I wouldn’t publish the picture of someones file. Especially since it has the person’s SSN on it.

  15. I would so love to have those benches in that chapel.

  16. I remember reading a post on this site about an abandoned theme park in Arkanasas called Dogpatch USA that really freaked me out for some reason. Just seeing this creepy old amusment park from the 60s that had been totally abandoned and left to rot and get buried in weeds. I think it’d be neat to get a bigger article like this one done about it with pictures of this quality

  17. I’d like to think the cheerful graffiti said “PIE” and not “DIE”. I know if I walked into an abandoned hospital, that would make me happy.

  18. LOL… Lauren, i thought the exact same thing…. pie makes me happy especially lemon meringue

  19. this be my kind of place.

  20. Check out the fetus in the End Is Near pic. WTF?

  21. I like the photo of the boiler room the best. Excellent photography.

    The only exception being the display of someone’s Social Security Number to accompany his Date of Birth, name, and address.

  22. In the graffiti of the “End Is Near” photo is that a fetus or the baby from 2001: A Space Odyssey?

  23. When I look at the picture of the file room all I can think of is ‘Oh why doesn’t someone save that stuff for genealogists.’ I would love to have medical records of my family.

  24. Did you ever see the movie “Session 9″ Check it out, I thought of it while looking at your pictures.

  25. Ransom, excellent photography.
    You truly have an eye for photography. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!

  26. Amazing. Mr. Plonk lived just around the corner from where I was growing up in 1972. You’d think this property would be worth developing; kind of odd it’s just sat there. Marineland property did the same thing, though, and it has to be some pretty prized real estate. Kinda weird that the electricity is still on, too.

  27. @ P. Esh – FYI deceased individuals SSN are very easy to come by. On FamilySearch and many other genealogy websites, Social Security Death Indexes contain an individuals name, death date, SSN, location they applied for their SSN, and death location. So no harm was done by publishing this picture.

  28. I am so going here this weekend. These are some really nice photos!

  29. does that one say Pie or Die?

  30. Wait, so there’s electricity still running in there? I noticed the light was on in the basement. These photos are stunning.

  31. I went to a broken down place like that once in Kansas City and was wondering if there are any problems with squatters there? That was the scariest part about the place I went…Homeless addicts screaming at people.

  32. I used to live near that hospital. I would sometimes see productions companies use it to shoot films. I believe part of it was used as rehabilitation center for drug addicts not too long ago. It was also featured on an episode of America’s Next Top Model for one of the photo shoots.

    You did a great job on these pictures. I didn’t know this place was that deteriorated.

  33. Great Shots!

  34. This place is the scariest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen. I have to go!

  35. I believe this place was used for the filming of an episode of “Dexter”

  36. Great tiles!

  37. Is this place known to be haunted?

  38. Great photos!!!!! Interesting material.

  39. Brilliant photos…art directors would struggle to dress a set to make it as creepy as some of those shots! Fantastic work. Very odd place.

  40. Yeah, how come there is still electricity? There’s at least two photos with lights on…

  41. freaky as hell, great photos!


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