The Old Riverside Hospital

Stationed only a block or so from the local police department in downtown Toledo remains a forgotten and fragmented structure formerly known as The Riverside Hospital. The hospital was opened in 1883 as a home for unwed mothers in the Northern Toledo area, welcoming them in under the supervision of the Sisters of Mercy. The hospital had operated under their supervision until 1983, when it had changed hands, becoming part of Mercy Health Partners.

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At the time of its full closure in 2002, nearly 270 beds remained only to now collect dust as time faded life away further and further. Local urban legends suggest that ghosts of former doctors and patients now roam the tunnels beneath this structure, but nothing is for certain. The hospital is now owned and monitored by the Toledo Public Schools; information bestowed upon us quite unwillingly and uncomfortably.

December 29, 2014 – the day we would personally meet the entire Toledo Police force. Our day started just like many others, with a journey towards Detroit, Michigan, where we were headed to photograph the Packard Plant; a place that surprisingly none of us have ever photographed, seeing as everyone and their uncle has. It was soon realized that a quick detour would take us to a lesser-explored hospital, so with a quick shift of our GPS, we were en route to the old Riverside Hospital.

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Upon surveying the area, traipsing hospital grounds back and forth, we had finally secured an entrance. It was decided that one of us would make our way into a second story window near the decaying smoke stack, and like a wild monkey who had just downed 8 pots of coffee, he was up and in. It was soon discovered that the building held one very important piece the rest of us needed…a ladder. Legs clanged against a metallic top, as the ladder was lowered from an adjacent second story window onto what seemed to be an old power generator. Thus, we began our sketchy and rattling climb toward our window entrance.

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Stepping into this hospital was like being submerged in a world that humans had vacated in such a blind hurry that all was left behind. Blood sits in vials as the glass collects dust, patient files were left rotting in the stale, stagnant air and like a bomb had gone off, windows are blasted out remaining in shattered piles scattered across the grungy lab floors. Lower floors were littered with surgical and examination rooms where water has begun to make its way in, leaving the air sour with an odor of water damage. It truly makes you wonder, when you see something as strange as a surgical table where they seemingly left mid-surgery never to return. Surgical implements remain placed atop a rolling tray cart beside the operating table. Needles and blood soaked first-aid materials sit alone while year after year passes by. Standing at the counter, my feet became partially submerged in a small level of water that had made its way in from busted pipes. The room was pitch-black dark, quiet and cold; these are moments that I love. There is something so intriguing about feeling like the world outside has absolutely no clue where you are, while at the same time feeling that all life has vanished. I know all is alive and well just outside these walls, but we are seemingly alone in this world. This was almost the case today.

One wrong turn up one wrong stairwell, a motion alarm was tripped and we were headed for the exit with no more chance of success than you have at seeing a sober parent at Chuck E. Cheese’s. As I mentioned earlier, the police station sat only a short block away, and it was at this moment as we ran through the trashed, destroyed halls that we knew we had to either give up, or find an alternate point of exit. The alternate point of exit seemed like a very slight possibility for only a moment, until 5 or 6 cars were lined up with the only possible exits being blocked. As we sat quietly tucked away inside of a room, we exchanged escape plans, contemplating what would be the best route. One member of the group had become separated from the 4 of us, and while wondering where he may have wandered off to, the rest of us journeyed to the lower floors in very small hope of making any positive progress. We began to hear a group of officers talking in the distance from the first floor, which sent us scurrying straight back upwards, trapping us once again in the cramped corner room of a hallway where it had all begun.

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Slowly peering from the edge of a nearby window, a member of our group had heard officers entering a passcode in, gaining entrance to the building. As we stood silently toward back of this corner room debating our next move, a loud thud filled the silence, shaking a floor of the structure. We figured there was absolutely no way it could have been our friend, considering he would for sure be remaining quiet, though we were not quite sure where else it could have come from. Moments later, the footsteps of approaching officers became audible and it was at this second we knew it was just about time that we should give ourselves up. So stuck between nothing but a short hallway and stairwell leading to nothing but our inevitable failure at an escape, we rounded the corner with hands up, cameras around our necks and multiple guns pointed at our faces by 5 different officers.

“Hands up, remove your backpacks and hands against the wall. Now!” Difficult to tell which officer was talking to whom at this point, as everything had instantly fluttered into a chaotic mess. We were all quickly put against the mold-coated walls with hands up and searched for weapons.

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After this wonderfully casual introduction, we all began talking about the building, learning that the Toledo Public Schools were the current owners and had actually boarded the entire place the day before; but they left the second story open. According to an officer, we were lucky to show ourselves when we did, considering the dogs were en route to the building from nearly 2 minutes away. Upon finding our friend who had wandered by himself, an officer who had found him before the rust of us had been discovered, tackled him to the floor causing the aforementioned thud.

In the end, we had a good chat and even a couple of laughs between the officers and our group, including one great exploring tip – “next time, pull up the ladder.” The next day, we would visit and attend court for our charges, along with the famous tip once again by both judge and court-appointed defense lawyer – “make sure you pull up the ladder next time.” Within hours of the hospital adventure, we enjoyed a sunset from Detroit’s Packard Plant; a great end to the evening.

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In conclusion, they WILL catch you if you attempt to explore this building, and number two…court is NEVER fun. Oh, and make sure you pull up the ladder.

Thank you to Jacob Bacon for the photo of Ryan climbing into the window.

SO DON’T GO HERE OKAY.

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122 thoughts on “The Old Riverside Hospital

  1. I question the “red” blood on the sheets, as well as a couple of other things . Are you claiming that every picture in this article is authentic, the items being exactly as you found them, not staged or photoshopped , and that all these photos were just taken last week ? Just curious ……..

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    1. Yes, we figured that the blood would have remained more red due to being in such a damp area, but later figured out from someone on a comment that they had actually staged a couple of things for a short film that they made there. STILL, all of the equipment WAS left behind in there and all it took was setting it on a table. The vial of blood is indeed real I believe, it was found in the lab. Other than them being “staged” beforehand, we did not touch a thing to stage them, and this is exactly how we found it all. It was a fun explore!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I have been in there about 9 years ago i thik we went in the same place it was like a boiler room in the basement some how worked our way to the main lobby we did not get a chance to go into any rooms. On our way heading to the lobby I began to notice every hallway and door was the same in every way so I proped the doors that we went through open so we knew how to get back. Was amazing to be in there wish I could have seen more. 1 thing I’ll never 4 get soon as we figured how to get in it was to dark to go anywhere so we went to the conner stoor a got a flash light. Good times the other place me and my friends have been in was the old armory on summit across from Detwiler That was fun was our daily hang out played hide in go seek basketball was a blast

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  2. You story claims that “blood sits in vials” as the glass collects dust. Did you or did you not find “vials” -plural- of blood “sitting out” collecting dust ? And how do you know it was actual blood ?

    Also, in your article, why did you neglect to say that you staged items ?

    Are you honestly saying that every picture in your article is a picture you took at that location, just last week ? Also, are you claiming the only things you carried into that building were your cameras, which you carried while climbing up a ladder ?

    Not trying to cause an issue, I’m just getting confused ……..

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  3. Who filmed the short film there ? I didn’t see a comment from someone who claimed to make a short film there . Do you have a link to the film ? I’d love to see the film ….!

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  4. I am the “monkey who downed 8 pots of coffee” and I can surely attest to the fact that this was in Toledo. And yes, we only had cameras. If we had more the charges against us would have been much steeper.
    We certainly did not stage a single thing, only took photos of what we saw as they laid. We later found out a short film was made there and they mostly staged the surgical room for the shoot (unbeknownst to us at the time the article was written.)
    As far as the medical records go, there was nothing anyone could use to steal identities or anything of the nature. There was a library full of books that had some files in it, but nothing major. Plus, remember, this IS connected to an active building. These were found by that. They very well could be in an “overflow” storage.

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    1. I’m wanting to know how I can see this movie you say was taped there? also the name on that vial could very well be my husband or fatherinlaw,not to happy that you were able to just put that out there. and not very happy to know there are records or files as you sya n there for anyone to see!!1

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    2. When they closed Riverside Hospital they literally left everything. It was an out of date hospital, ST. V’s is just down the road with state of the art everything, Mercy Hospital just a few more blocks the other way, which is now closed for the most part. So yes, they left everything. There was also a murder there back in the 60’s, they convicted Father Gerald Robinson of killing a nun and he actually just passed away I think in 2014 but there are some who think he may not have done it.

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      1. Toledo Catholic Diocesan priest, Fr. Gerald Robinson killed Sr. Margaret Ann Pahl, not in the old Riverside, but in the old Mercy hospital. fyi… and those who think he didn’t do it, are probably the same people who didn’t sit at the trial day in and day out hearing the evidence.

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  5. All shadyness aside, staged or not for a movie, whatever, I don’t care. It was interesting just seeing the inside of a place I remember fondly. All of my six children were born in that building. I was so very sad when I heard that Riverside Hospital was closing. In my opinion it was one of the finer hospitals in Toledo. Such a waste of a lovely old building. Just like my schools, Jones Jr High and Libbey High School, so full of character and I KNOW, asbestos, not worth the bother or care to save them. More’s the pity. The short sighted politicians, crappy newspaper and incompetent people, “in-charge” of Toledo only have eyes for shiny and new buildings that say NOTHING about the history or elegance of times passed.
    Thank you for an eye into an old friend. If ghosts do roam the halls of the old Riverside Hospital I think they would welcome a little attention to their “home”. It is so sad to see how unappreciated old things are in this town. A glimpse inside, even through blatant neglect (for whatever reason) and decay, brought back fond memories. I saw the life in that place once again. Heard the echoes of the busy-ness. Thank you for the tour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb Briner, Thank you for the kind words about Riverside Hosital, I was in nurses training there from1965-1968. Many fond memories of the years we lived right there in the old dorm that has been torn down. I was only 17 when I arrived , learned skills that I used the next 40 years. We were proud to be Riverside girls, visited the ships that came in , even shared some vodka with the crew. Toledo was a better place then , we walked downtown to shop and go to the movies, yes good memories, hope some of that was staged for a film. C. TaylorS.N.

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  6. I have lived in Toledo about 15 years, I hear people mention “the old Riverside Hospital” occasionally. I always think its such an odd name. There is not a “new” Riverside Hospital, but it is still called this, even in the court documents, it makes it extra creepy, and certainley adds to the urban legend lore of the building. Any ways, this is just another shining example of why Toledo is the poster city for urban sprawl.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so weird to see the hospital not in use. I was born here and I visited my grandparents here when they were sick. It is hard to believe it is abandoned.

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  8. Any of you who actually believe that this is what Riverside looks like now, you are an idiot. Take it from somebody who knows first-hand: no patient records were left behind, no bloody rags were left behind, and no vials of blood were left behind. Come on people, use common sense!

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    1. oh but there DEF is.. I worked inside the hospital for TPS JUST LAST WEEK there is DEF ALOT left behind looks alot like a zombie apocolypse hit scared me to even enter.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My mother (b. 1927), myself (b. 1951) and my oldest son(b. 1971) were born there. I saw something about the Sisters of Mercy. I thought it was operated by the Episcopal Church.

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  10. This is Rascal and I will have my say, this is the second time I have commented and I find it funny how when the truth is told they deleted my comment. My points are we did not abandon the building the Toledo Board of Education bought the building and they are to blame for the dispare of this building that me and my fellow co-worker who were very fond of and it hurts to see it in this shape. Point 2 the police station is not a block away from the hospital but several miles away, if the so called blood vile was from lab where is the 12 years of dust that should have accumulated, and you should have checked your facts before you printed this article before accusing us for leaving medical records and an old surgery set up and left which was actually a short film filmed there and further more if you aspect us to believe you claimed four stories to reach that window and just happen to find a telescoping ladder to let your buddies in we know how high that window is. You need to check your facts before you print this fable.

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    1. Hey Riverside Rascal.. I sure do miss that old building. I worked there for 15 years and we had the best group of employees and docs around.
      I miss that family also. Still work in the system and see a few old coworkers.
      I alway wondered what it looked like inside now. Wish I could walk the halls and say hi to all my friends i had there.

      Kelly Nopper

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    2. Actually the police station isn’t several miles away but a couple blocks away. And hiding family who worked there for over 30 yrs I can say everything you claim is false. Records were left there since they were backed up by a computer. Nice try though.

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  11. First of all , Great PICs! I would have loved to be with you guys!! I am a physician and started my practice in Toledo in 1999. I rounded in riverside hospital before it closed. In its last years I recall this place stuck in the 1970’s – early1980’s. I wish I would have taken pics of the doctors lounge and the ICU’s.
    As for the blood, it is unlikely that blood would stay so red after 10 years. Humidity has nothing to do with it. It decomposes to a brown color (that is related to the iron content in blood).
    I would find it hard to believe that patient medical records would be left behind. That could lead to a unhappy law suit for Mercy Health Systems.

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  12. I’m the son of Bruce Trumm, the president of Riverside Hospital during the 1970s. I have many good memories of going there to see my Dad at work and seeing all the great people who worked there. Dad died some 17 years before the hospital closed. I was told that it closed because the Mercy system wanted to consolidate its operations, and as a smaller hospital, Riverside was put on the chopping block. I always suspected, though, that its location in Toledo’s North End was part of the reason too. It’s a poorer area. Mercy went on to open St. Ann’s, which is also a smaller hospital, but is located in the more prosperous west side of town. Thanks for posting these pix. Next time you go in, take me with you.

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  13. This is from a film set! This is the film they made there! None of it was actually left behind, its fake. Here is the film shot there, look familiar?

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    1. Thank you David for providing the short movie. I KNEW this had to be set somewhere as I have had 3 relatives who have worked or worked until the end of RIverside Hosp. and the all deny this info.

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  14. I worked @ Riverside Hospital from 1975 to the day they closed the doors in the Lab. I know personally what the lab looked like, I personally turned out the lights and closed the door to my department within the lab as the tears rolled down my cheek. Riverside was my first job @ 16years old, I literally grew up there, and had a second family. There is no way any blood samples, patient information was left behind in the lab. We spent weeks clearing out every thing patient related, transferring records to the warehouse, specimens were incinerated, and properly disposed of. What equipment that was still usable was sold or transferred to St.Vincent’s and St. Anne’s. We still use a piece of equipment to this day @ St. Vincent’s from Riverside. I use it daily !! Riverside should have been taken better care of from the city of Toledo. It’s an historical building and should have been used as a museum of some sort. Shame on the city for ignoring a piece of history. I miss the days @ Riverside, we were a family, we treated each other like family. We still speak proudly of being part of the Riverside family. Riverside installed the values of patient care in myself which I proudly take with me to St. Vincent’s this day. Thank you each and everyone of my fellow Riverside co-workers for being a big part of my life with fond memories.

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    1. Hey Michelle, thank you for this information! I’m just speaking on things that we did find inside, though some may have been placed by others? Or one or two things may have been left behind? Such as the one vial of blood that we did find in the lab. The surgical area was indeed set up for a short film, learned after I had written this. As for patient files, we did find files on people, but those could have been faked? Or maybe placed there, perhaps one or two made there way to the floor. Thank you for not attacking me like others have on here, I am simply accounting for everything just as the day went within an informative/interesting narrative. It’s honestly the only thing that I feel keeps me sane sometimes. I do agree I wish they would have been able to save this building, but it looks as though it caught fire at some point? It’s amazing seeing how many people commenting here have such an extensive history through these places, and I am happy to know that they were a very good facility, that could help teach and provide so many great doctors and nurses for us today.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Pablos Pons jr worked as a nurses aid till 1985 walking those same darkened hallways & corridors . . . it’s BEYOND creepy seeing those photo’s of an abandoned building . . . the Ghost of Pablos could be lurking about.

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    3. I ALSO WORKED AT RIVERSIDE’S LAB FROM 72-86, AND I’M TRYING TO CONNECT UP WITH OLD FRIENDS. YOU’RE RIGHT, MY TRAINING THERE, WORKING SIDE BY SIDE EVERY DAY MADE RIVERSIDE MY FAMILY. IF YOU GET THIS REPLY, LET’S SEE IF WE BOTH REMEMBER RUTH OR DONNA OR LOIS.

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  15. I want to say you guys are very lucky to have even gotten in there. my mother used to work right next to the old Hospital before it closed me and her used to go downstairs to the basement and it connected to the building next door which was there an elevator to go up to the next building the only way you can get to the basement is going through morgue it’s a tirp going down there put the experience is worth it!

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  16. the building was recently used to produce a beeflic. which is like a movie someone just made they paid to make it there but it doesnt have like actual famous actors. there WAS 4 patient files that ARE REAL and currently are NOT under any kind of lawsuit what so ever dude to being apprehended and traansferred to St, Vincent Hospital. ALOT of things left in the hospital WERE real .

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  17. pretty intriguing – I was born at this hospital in ’48, just been trying to find pictures of it for posterity’s sake, but couldn’t find anything for an hour or so til I happened on this…..my mother loved Riverside Hospital and the staff during my delivery…..

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      1. I was in their last night. Their is real blood. Real glass needles. Real peoples records. I brought a jar home with brain tissue in it. Was walking around in brandnew surgery scrubs. I can not believe what we found. Pill in lockers. Break rooms look like they just got up and left. Surgical equment percription pads. Oxigan tanks tons of stuff. I work for a asset protection company we were in their. It’s all real. I was promise

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  18. Great article. Thanks for sharing. I live in Toledo, Ohio. Not far from the hospital. Due to the medical articles found in the hospital and not properly discarded

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  19. awesome!! i would love to creep around in there (don’t worry, i won’t!). my oldest was born there 20 years ago .. she was 3 mos premature .. Riverside had thee best NICU in the city! ❤

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  20. I love this post, maybe it’s because I’m in the medical field, or because I went to college in Toledo. Regardless I’m amazed by your work. Do you rearrange things? To get better pictures? Or is it all how you found it?

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  21. My name is Zayn, and yesterday me and my dad went in it, we searched almost the whole place from basement to roof, while we were in the basement there was 2 rooms we saw light on in, 1 of the doors door knob was pryed out, we saw morges couple of them were little bit open, but lights were on in only in them rooms and a buzzing noise in both rooms, we explored it about 4 hours but like I said about the room we looked through the door knob hole and foreal it looked clean, bright lights, not yellow alot was still white as it have been cleaned, we sat on the roof and did some research, that said there was motion sensors and ghosts the roam it , the other door had lights on , and on the wall there was a thing that said tunnels with a arrow pointing down. I’m just very curious about why there are lights on it the abounded building, all the wires were hanging cut down in all the hass so how is there lights on it the rooms?????????

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  22. A few friends and I are planning a trip here in the upcoming few weeks. (don’t try to talk us out of it we know the risk) advice? What do the sensors looks like? What way in is best? Are there any floor plans or layouts? We want to get to the room with the bloody gown. Is it better at night or day? And is a mask needed? Checked out Lima’s,TB hospital with no worries, hope this is similar.

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