Monday, March 10, 2014

Much Worse: Kuhn Memorial Charity Hospital, Vicksburg, Mississippi

One of Vicksburg's best urban spelunking sites is the long-abandoned Kuhn Memorial Charity Hospital at 1422 Martin Luther King Blvd. It is empty with windows smashed, and is deteriorating steadily. Occasionally the Vicksburg Post presents a short article on how the City may condemn the structure and is trying to contact the owners, but year after year passes, and nothing happens.
It was a substantial building, with thick concrete and ceramic tile walls, and it had a decent setting on a ridge. The "new" wing is in the background.
This undated aerial photograph shows the new wing in the back. The old plantation house is still in the foreground.
The view through the old ambulance entrance is looking north to Martin Luther King Boulevard (formerly Openwood Street).
The first floor halls are a mess of acoustic ceiling tile and paint chips. But notice that the walls were so robust, the green and white glazed tiles defied vandals and are largely intact. I have not ventured up to the 2nd or 3rd floors alone.

The City of Vickburg has a real dilemma with a building like this. The owner has abandoned the site. Demolition will cost a lot, and the land may not have any buyers, meaning the City may not be able to recoup the costs. There is no easy solution.

For more information, please see the July 2012 article on Kuhn Hospital.

A recent article in Preservation in Mississippi describes how, in 1948, Mississippi led the nation in building new hospitals to serve rural residents.  It was a period of great optimism in public health, when Mississippi’s network of public hospitals was the talk of the nation. I assume the Kuhn Hospital was partly funded or expanded in this era.

If you are interested in urban exploration, this Wikipedia article shows examples. It is more popular in cities like Detroit, which are full of abandoned factories and hospitals. Vicksburg does not have many industrial sites, but has plenty of decayed houses.

All photographs taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera, tripod-mounted, most with the 27mm f/2.8 Fuji lens. I processed the RAW files in PhotoNinja software.

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