Between 1900-1910, a disease began to heavily sweep the land, causing the bodies of carriers to waste away, coughing up blood, leaving the infected person very weak, almost always becoming deadly in most cases. This disease is known as tuberculosis, which grew rapidly, becoming a very scary and very contagious disease during the early to mid 1900s. The town of Lima, Ohio in Allen County had seen the sickness spreading faster and faster, finally coming to a decision to build a hospital off the grid. Isolation was key in providing treatment for these patients, and new facilities were built away from other hospitals to help stop further spread.
The Lima Tuberculosis Hospital opened its doors on April 5, 1911 and was one of the first of its kind in the state of Ohio. The facility began admitting patients ranging anywhere from the age of 7 to 70 at an average stay of 3-5 years for treatment. In January 1960, the facility had been renamed to the Ottowa Valley Hospital. While its life as hospital had ended almost fully in 1970, the building was still used for the following 3 years to house a final group of few patients, concluded by a final closure in 1973, when the very last patient was released.
The building now remains a favorite location for many ghost hunters, who claim to have heard noises or seen figures while traversing the grounds. The city had estimated in 1909, that they believed over 3,000 would die of this deadly disease, so I suppose it wouldn’t be too far off to question some kind of paranormal happenings inside.
Buildings like this always seem to carry such a dark history when forgotten, giving off strange, silent whispers of a past life full of death. As we emerged from the slight overgrowth, which had been mostly grayed out by cold winter winds, we stood at the curve of a cracked and crumbled driveway, previously the main drive into hospital grounds, where we were greeted by the large, decaying brick structure standing before us. Dirt piles have been built up against each entrance, seemingly to keep people away from entering. As we traveled up and down through each hallway, you could see time literally peeling away at the building’s walls. Each floor sits open to the outside, due to scrappers and vandals removing every last window. The bright side is that Summer months must provide a nice breeze blowing through, and if you feel like swimming, there is always a make-shift diving board residing at the edge of a second story floor, where an entire center room has fallen into the basement, allowing for a swim through a wonderful pool of rusty nails, rotten wood and crumbled brick.
The 40+ years of open air have allowed for this deadly disease to escape, no longer lingering inside the ward. Though all is gone and it seems that time has been lost under debris, tossed away with any stories of former life, if the walls inside this structure could talk, I’m sure this building could give us a few books full. The stories, which have been lost in time over years of decay and destruction, will remain forgotten mysteries to us, and I will always continue to wander throughout the rattling thoughts inside my head, attempting to peak into the past.