Went to a Local H show in Valpo, stopped at that one church on the way home… she’s looking rough, these days. Many have been here, but few come back to see her under nothing but moon and street light…
Fifteen-ish minute exposure.
A last look inside the former HQ and factory for Johnson Motors; a massive facility with sections dating to 1928. Filmed before it was locked-up for asbestos abatement, and eventual demo.
TL;DR: Century-old portions of a partially-abandoned hospital.
History: Construction began in 1910 and would remain unfinished until late-1914. The facility became the city’s premiere medical center, peaking around 300 beds following decades of expansions and renovations. Postwar economic and industrial changes drastically affected the population of the city, which trickled down to financial strains on the hospital, itself. The last capital project came in 1974 with the demolition and replacement of a large wing, and for the next two decades the place slowly went into decline.
The aging facility was sold and became corporate-owned in 1993, but layoffs continued as the city continued to falter, and the inevitable shutdown drew near. Drowning in debt, and following the collapse of a desperate “one-dollar sale” attempt: the hospital finally declared bankruptcy and shuttered for good in late 1995 – leaving its remaining 150 staff members jobless.
A year later, liquidators were hired to sell everything left inside to the public, down to the bare walls, in an attempt to repay some of the massive debt. Political hurdles kept the place shuttered until about 2003, when the 1974-addition was repurposed as a public service facility that now houses the city’s courts, tech departments, and police headquarters. The long-shuttered nursing school was also briefly used during the planning stages of a nearby Minor League Baseball stadium. The housing collapse of 2008 officially put an end to any revival efforts for the remaining, historic part of the structure; while the financial turmoil of the city has also – for now – prevented its demolition.
Explore: We’ve made recon passes here over the years, but held-off attempting it due to having an even closer proximity to a cop shop than the late-great Dixie Square Mall. That proximity has, however, also kept most of the riff-raff out; and our patience recently paid-off upon finding an unsecured window that allowed us to jump-in right off the street. Seeming to take a page from a few notable Chicago hospitals that have closed, our entry put us in a moldy room full of what may contain patient records or some other kind of sensitive paperwork. More of which were later found in boxes, upstairs.
For the next several hours, we owned the place…
Save for a few remaining signs, syringe disposals, a room with a lone curtain fluttering in the breeze, and some cabinets: few things remain that would identify it as a hospital. In fact, the only piece of serious equipment left is a sterilizer on one of the upper floors, which is so big it probably would require the demolition of a few walls to remove.
A pedestrian bridge connects the remnants of the hospital to the nursing school and boiler area, and requires a little extra stealth to remain unseen by the neighboring police department. Once across, a stairwell leads you underground to the boiler room. One can then find their way either to the dead-end tunnels which formerly led to the wing that was demolished in ’74, or back upstairs into the few remaining classrooms – guarded only by the rotting corpse of a raccoon.
Up until about 2010-11, the abandoned parts were still hot… some of the lights, ceiling fans, and fire alarms still worked. This is no-longer the case; however one door in the basement remains locked with something buzzing behind it; and of all the places I’ve been to, I can see an idiot scrapper getting cooked at this one.
A few weeks later we came back and it was still wide-open. Knowing the exploring climate around here, and with nearby high-profile locations dropping like flies as of late: it won’t stay clean for long.
A good friend of Pat Sullivan, whose studio created Felix the Cat in 1919: Winslow Felix established Felix Chevrolet in Los Angeles in 1921, and in exchange for a new car was granted the rights to use the popular cartoon character in marketing and advertising, beginning with the 1923 Los Angeles Auto Show. The dealer has since gone on to become an icon for west coast car culture, and one of Chevy’s longest-running dealer franchises.
The dealer relocated from Downtown Los Angeles to Jefferson and Figueroa in 1958. Correlating with the character’s then-current revival, a massive neon sign topped by Felix the Cat was added in 1959, and has become an unofficial landmark for the area that can be seen from the nearby 110 Freeway. To the dismay of some, however: the sign underwent a recent overhaul that replaced the original neon tubing with LED lighting, giving the glow a somewhat “cold” feel.