Obscura Day 2016: Retreat to Rockhaven Sanitarium - Atlas Obscura

Montrose, California

Obscura Day 2016: Retreat to Rockhaven Sanitarium

Where the feeble-minded sought dignified treatment in a peaceful valley

Scores of sanitariums once operated in the Crescenta Valley, and then they disappeared—except Rockhaven.

Join Field Agent Sandi Hemmerlein as the Los Angeles Obscura Society explores the vacant grounds of Rockhaven Sanitarium, founded in 1923 by a nurse who wanted to improve upon the nightmarish way that sufferers of nervous disorders and mental illness had been treated. 

It all started with a little rock house (hence, rock haven), but as its peaceful conditions and gorgeous scenery attracted more and more patients, the facility expanded to over three acres, taking over several neighboring homes to house their growing population. Now vacant since officially shutting down in 2006 (the last of its kind in operation), many traces of the old garden sanctuary remain, including fountains, stone pathways, arches, and cottages.

Choose from 2 different start times: Morning (10 a.m.) or Afternoon (1 p.m.)

Docents from Friends of Rockhaven will lead us down the winding paths, once lushly landscaped to draw Rockhaven's residents outside to the gardens and communal areas. We'll enter vintage hospital wards and even some of the living quarters, which have stayed frozen in time for the last 10 years since its closure. Once you experience the tranquility and serenity that drew people to the Crescenta Valley, you may never want to leave.

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Notes for this adventure:

- Due to limited capacity, we will offer two tours, a morning tour from 10 am to 12 pm and an afternoon tour from 1 pm to 3 pm.

- Exact address of our meeting point will be emailed to confirmed attendees before the event date.

- A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Friends of Rockhaven, a non-profit whose volunteers maintain the grounds and buildings, and advocate for the preservation and revitalization of the property.

- Photography encouraged! Bring your cameras and juice up your smartphones.

- Wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for two hours of standing and walking on uneven surfaces and some mild stair-climbing.

- This is a historic property, so please treat it with care.

- Tour incorporates both indoor and outdoor areas, so please wear sun protection and layers for fluctuating temperatures.

- Free street parking, but please be respectful of the residential neighborhood.

- A signed and dated liability waiver is required and will be emailed in advance to all attendees.

Advance Ticket Sales Only. All Sales Final.

Spend the day with us! Browse the LA Schedule to plan your day.

After a full day of exploring, join us for an after-party at Valley Relics w/ DJ Mukta Mohan & Magician Siegfried Tieber! Celebrate adventure with your fellow explorers, surrounded by retro signage and other modern commercial antiquities.