I had no idea this building even exsisted until Chris told me about it one night. It's pretty easy to see why I didn't know about it: it's just the right age/color/architecture to blend into the surrounding St. Louis neighborhood undetected.
The People's Hospital, as it eventually became called, was originally opened in 1894 as the Provident Hospital. Its name was changed to the People's Hospital in 1918, and it was famous for being one of only three hospitals in the St. Louis area at the time that would treat African-American patients (St. Mary's Infirmary was, interestingly, another one of the three).
I visited the hospital a few months ago with Shortstack. This was one of her first explorations, and I made a mental not afterward to never take a female with me to a place that I had never visited before (the tend to get freaked out easily when you can't assure them that there are absolutely no bums inside). In her defense, the place turned out to be a little eerie at times.
We entered the hospital through a crumbling hole in the foundation into the basement, and immediately saw signs that someone had been recently or still was living there. The basement had no windows (as basements usually don't), so was extremely dark...adding to the eerie quality. In one of the first rooms we visited, we found an old surgical table, complete with a mild slant leading to a drain so the blood would have somewhere to go.
I have been so far unable to find out exactly when the People's Hospital closed down for good, but it is pretty apparent that it has not been used in some time. Many of the stairwells have been reduced to slanted piles of rubble, and floors in some areas are somewhat less than solid.
Despite a few details, the building hardly represents a hospital you would see today....it just seems more like a normal building that just happened to house and treat sick people. Only the room numbers, surgical tables, and call switches alluded to its former use.
In one of the rooms we found a surgical table that was a bit different from the others: it was only about two feet long. We were really disturbed since we could see it as nothing else but a table for babies.....or I guess maybe individual body parts. Either way, freaky!
The creepiest part of the day was walking into a stairwell and smelling something pretty gross. We looked to find the source of the smell, until Shortstack finally screamed. There was a cat in the corner that was in mid stages of decomposing. We assumed that it had gotten into the building and the recent extremely cold weather had been too much for the poor thing. In a room down the hall we found a blanket where someone had been sleeping. On the blanket we found a styrofoam container with some cat food, and around that were three other dead cats (probably kittens from the size). I was sad to see this. Someone had obviously been trying to care for these cats, and had probably been driven to find somewhere warm because of the weather. There, now I have sucessfully ruined your day. You're welcome.
And yes, here is a pic:
After a little more searching, we found or way to the roof. This required walking outside onto a fire escape in the alley. This was strange, since most of the escape below the level I was standing on had crashed to the ground below. Just pieces of the frame remained. From the roof, we were given a great panoramic of the surrounding city scape. Many of the buildings near the hospital were obviously being restored. It makes me wonder what is in the works for this old building.
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