Opened in 1909 by the Santa Fe Railroad to serve its employees, the Moorish-style medical facility was a welcome sight in Boyle Heights.
Razed and rebuilt in 1924, the Santa Fe Coast Line Hospital was reborn as a Mission Revival Style, top-notch institute now called Linda Vista. The hospital enjoyed many decades as the best care unit in the area – beautiful Santa Fe tile, highly trained staff and, at least in the early years, its own chickens, cows, and vegetable gardens to ensure that the patients had the freshest foods and dairy possible as they convalesced. But as the railroad industry, medical industry, and the very neighborhood itself changed with time, Linda Vista failed to keep up.
By the 1970s, the Los Angeles suburb of Boyle Heights was no longer a lovely place to be, and with railroad employees opting for more mainstream medical care, Linda Vista was mostly treating the gunshot wounds and other violent crime injuries of the local community. After it instituted cutbacks to offset lack of funding, the operational shortcuts led to an increase in death rates. Between the high rate of violent crime mortality and the decreasing amount of resources, Linda Vista’s quality of care declined, doctors left, uninsured patients steadily grew, and the hospital was forced to close its doors for good in 1991.
Ever-sprawling Los Angeles doesn’t have much use for empty, abandoned buildings. Linda Vista and its 6 stories of mission-style architecture and railroad history was sure to become an apartment building or strip mall, it was just a matter of time – but Linda Vista had one more reincarnation left in her. It seems in a city like Los Angeles, there just may be use for an old hospital, dusty, cobwebbed, and still full of the odds and ends of medical equipment and office trappings – a horror film set.
The hospital was never deemed important enough to clean out, at least until sold to whatever company would eventually purchase it to turn it into something profitable, which would most likely mean tearing it down and starting over. When the the hospital closed, the few employees left just walked out – patient files remained lying open on counters, beds sat askew, some made, some not. With the building stripped of anything of worth, the flotsam left behind gave the eerie ghost vibe that is so appealing to horror fans – the frightening excitement of a place that harbored more deaths than one can imagine, where the caregivers who kept the misery in check have disappeared leaving nothing but injured souls behind. As dust gathered on the window sills of Linda Vista, so did the sense of unease.
That unease was picked up by both film and TV location scouts, as well as ghost hunters and tours, and suddenly Linda Vista was bustling again. While the fate of the hospital is still uncertain, plans to renovate or turn it into condos have fallen short, mostly due to the high amounts of asbestos and lead contained within. Until then, paranormal operations and filming continue in earnest. As of 2013, Linda Vista’s creepy halls have starred in over 60 films, TV shows, and music videos.
Recently, the former Linda Vista Hospital has been converted into senior apartment homes.
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