Please note: The author of this blog does not encourage trespassing in any way, shape, or form. The Linda Vista Community Hospital is currently not open to the public and is available as a filming location; visit www.lindavistalocation.com for more information.
Fifty years ago at Linda Vista Community Hospital, doctors would have been calling out to nurses for patients’ records, the nurses would have hurried to the patients’ bedsides in scrubs, and the patients might have been complaining about the obligatory tasteless hospital food. Today, this scenario would only take place after the words “Lights, camera, action” were shouted after the snap of a clapperboard.
As promised in a previous post, another visit was paid to the Linda Vista Community Hospital in Boyle Heights (Unfortunately, the usual DSLR camera used for shooting was out of commission for the day, hence the camera phone photos).
The prior post incorrectly stated the hospital was built in 1937; it was in fact established in 1904, says Francis Kortekaas, who has managed the location for the last 20 or so years.
Originally built to service Santa Fe Railroad employees, the Santa Fe Coastlines Hospital had several construction phases in 1925, 1931, 1938, 1961 and 1966, according to the California State Parks’ Office of Historical Preservation. The different decades’ architectural styles are evident in the building’s six floors, and a stroll through the hospital will transport visitors through time from Classic Revival to Art Deco to Streamline Modern periods. Eventually, in 1937, it became the Linda Vista Community Hospital.
The Santa Fe Railroad hospital was “the first HMO system for the United States” where railroad employees had their own medical services, says Kortekaas. There were “anywhere from 10 to 12 hospitals around the country that serviced the railroad employees,” he says. According to a survey conducted in September of 1990, the short-term stay facility had 150 beds and provided service under Medicare and Medicaid programs. It had one dietician on staff, about about nine full-time registered nurses androughly 53 full-time personnel. In 1991, the hospital ceased to function or offer in-patient care, says Kortekaas.
Now, about 100 to 150 films or TV shows are shot at the hospital every year, says Kortekaas, with many of those being independent horror films and period pieces (he gets “a lot of vampire” movies). Some of the most notable films include “Pearl Harbor” (one of the largest productions, he says), “L.A. Confidential”,” Outbreak” and the Governator’s own “End of Days”.
Every once in a while, paranormal researchers rent out the location, but “it’s very seldom, [only] two or three times a year,” says Kortekaas, and he tries not to let those kinds of rentals interfere with filming schedules. Occasionally, he allows urban explorers to rent out the hospital – it costs $150 per hour, but Kortekaas says the hospital is booked solid until October (check out L.A. Yelpers’ visit and some better photos)
Kortekaas admits that there have been strange occurences at the old hospital. He says the paranormal researchers have reported hearing chattering when nobody is in the room, among other things. He himself has even had two “incidents”; the last one happened in 1995.
Once, he was in a surgical room while closing up the building when a sink turned on by itself (it wasn’t a spring-loaded mechanism that could be put on a timer, but rather a mechanical one that required force to be turned, he says). The other time, he had been on the third floor, where there were medical offices, early in the morning at about 6 a.m. He heard a printer running and saw lights coming from underneath a closed door, and assumed someone was working in the room. When he came back to “check up on everybody,” he noticed that the employee presumed to be working in the locked room hadn’t arrived because her car was missing from the parking lot. When he and a secretary decided to check on the room, all the noise and activity came to a haunting halt as soon as the key turned.
Despite the “incidents,” the paranormal isn’t something that interests him and he prefers not to take notice. Being an old building, “a lot of structural noises can be misinterpreted” in the 100-years-plus-old hospital, says Kortekaas.
Not all of the areas in the hospital were originally there. The stainless steel morgue, seen in the photos below and on the Linda Vista website, was constructed for filming purposes about “five or six years ago…the original morgue is a very small room with a couple of wooden doors” from the 1920s. The chapel was also built for film shoots.
Addressing rumors that Howard Hughes once occupied an entire floor of the hospital after one of his obsessive-compulsive disorder bouts, Kortekaas says it was just an embellishment of the truth.
“We had a tenant in one of our locations” who submitted an application to have the Linda Vista hospital recognized as a historical place. “They put that in there as just an additive,” says Kortekaas.
The truth behind the rumor? The hospital’s chief of surgery in the 1930s also treated the OCD aviator/film producer/philanthropist Hughes, and was “kind of his personal surgeon” who “put…Hughes back together” after one of his accidents, says Kortekaas. Though Hughes himself never stayed at the hospital, the tenant who sought to give Linda Vista more fame felt the embellished fact might persuade officials to approve the hospital’s historical status. Perhaps it worked, because in January of 2006, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.