Monday, September 29, 2014

Kuhn Memorial Hospital: the Upper Floors

Dear Readers, the old Kuhn Memorial Hospital at 1422 Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard is such a mess, I could not resist showing some photographs from the upper floors. On my own, I have been reluctant to venture into the wreck alone, but some friends joined me and showed me around.
To get to the roof, you walk up some steep steps from the third floor and emerge from a turret. It is a standard graveled industrial roof, now in poor condition. The water tower to the west is in use by City of Vicksburg.
This is the view north towards MLK, Jr., Blvd. (formerly known as Openwood Road). The 2-floor house is very old, possibly Civil War era, and is in poor condition.
This is the building on MLK Blvd. I took this frame with a Leica M2 camera with 50mm f/2 Dual-Range Summicron lens.
 The poison ivy grows all the way up to the roof. That is how nature takes over.
The patient rooms on the upper floors in the 1959 wing were probably reasonably cheerful (for a hospital) in their day.
There was once a dumbwaiter to carry food to the upper floors. Notice the sturdy ceramic-glazed tiles.
This was one of the autopsy tables with a convenient drain in the base. My friends said they can detect paranormal activity in this room. I can't, but I am rather oblivious to vibrations and voices.
These cheerful rooms with south exposure were right down the hall from the autopsy room. I suppose that was convenient.
Back down on the first floor was the room with the cadaver refrigerator. Only two stalls in this one. Maybe the upper bin was for bits and pieces (like a removed leg)?
This was the hall leading in from the ambulance entry on the west side. The cadaver room was just off to the left.
On the ground floor out back, there was long room with a fireplace. We thought it might have been a doctors' lounge, but my friend later learned it was a solarium for patients. The open portico is turning to jungle.
This room, just behind the solarium, is collapsing.
Finally, this is one of two huge boilers. I am surprised no one has tried to cut it up for the scrap metal, but it may be too massive.

Urban spelunkers, if you want to look at Kuhn, do it soon. The decay is advancing so quickly, the City will have to act on a demolition within the next few years. And, they may have to secure the site prevent someone being injured (and suing the City). On September 29, 2013, the Mississippi Business Journal wrote,
VICKSBURG — The city of Vicksburg has given the owner of a 54-year-old building that once housed the Kuhn Memorial Hospital, once one of Mississippi’s three charity hospitals, 120 days to decide its fate.
The Vicksburg Post reports that the order was issued this week by city building and inspection director Victor Gray-Lewis.
The order came after a Sept. 18 hearing held on the property. No one from Ester Stewart Buford Foundation of Yazoo City, which owns the property, or Long Land Investments of Lauderdale County or Adair Asset Management LLC/U.S. Bank showed up, Gray-Lewis said. The hearing was not open to the public.
Long Land acquired the property at the 2011 county tax sale. Adair got it at the 2012 tax sale. Neither has redeemed the property.
“Someone’s going to have to fix it or take it down,” Gray-Lewis said. “They can’t leave it as it is.”
If no action is taken after 120 days, he said, he will take the matter to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a recommendation.
If the property owners do not take action, Gray-Lewis said, the city can decide to demolish the building, which he said is expensive. Under the state’s slum clearance law, the city can sell the cleared property to recover the cost of demolition.
“I hope it won’t come to that,” he said.
The hospital was closed in 1989 along with two other charity hospitals in Meridian and Laurel.
The hospital was built in 1959 on 12.8 acres. The building was given to the city in 1990. While the city owned it, a Louisiana company proposed renovating the building as a 118-bed adolescent psychiatric facility, but the plan fell through.
In 1996, the city sold the property to Frank Lassiter of Lassiter Associates in Baton Rouge, La. Lassiter proposed using the building as an assisted living facility and clinic. The project, he said, would employ 100 to 150 people.
The property was sold in 2000 to Bob Pitts, who donated it to the Esther Stewart Buford Foundation the next year.
If you are interested in black and white photographs, please click here.

Kuhn Hospital is becoming popular. The Tennessee Paranormal Society came to visit.

The extra-wide angle photographs in today's tour are from a Panasonic G3 camera with the Olympus 9-18mm lens for micro 4/3 mount, all tripod-mounted. The other frames were from a Fuji X-E1 camera with the Fuji 27mm lens. All RAW files processed with PhotoNinja software.
June 29, 2015 update:  Paranormal investigators found a body in the hospital. "Police Chief Walter Armstrong confirmed that the body is that of 69-year-old Sharon Wilson, who was reported missing. Wilson's attackers broke into her Drummond Street home and abducted her late Saturday night, police said." (From WAPT News, 06/29/2015). The two thugs were apprehended in Leland because of reckless driving. They were in the victims' SUV. It's hard to believe they could be so stupid.

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