The Toledo Riverside Hospital was in existence for almost a century. It was surrounded by crackled pavement and became a crumbling ruin.
The Riverside Hospital, once called The Riverside Hospital but now just one block from Toledo’s police station, is a long-forgotten structure. The Sisters of Mercy opened the doors of the hospital to unwed mothers in Northern Toledo in 1883. Mercy Health Partners purchased the hospital in 1983.
The Sisters of Mercy established The Retreat in October 1883 as a Home for Friendless Girls. This was a facility for young unmarried women who were pregnant. These expectant mothers were protected from shame and persecution by the Retreat. For children born in the country, orphanages were quietly set up.
The Sisters of Mercy established The Retreat, a Home for Friendless Girls in October 1883. This facility was for unwed young women who were pregnant, which was taboo at that time. These expectant mothers were protected from society’s shame and persecution by the Retreat. Orphanages were quietly established for children who were born there.
Before settling at its current location at 1609 Summit Street, the Retreat was moved several times.
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In 1920, the facility could accommodate 75 beds. Over time, other additions were made and the services offered grew. The hospital’s first male patient was admitted in 1932.
Before it was renamed Riverside Hospital, the institution’s name had been changed many times. Mercy Health, which was founded in 1983 by the Sisters of Mercy, assumed management of the hospital. In 2002, the hospital with 271 beds closed.
The ground floor had no windows or entrances. Due to the Midwestern winters’ frost-thaw cycles, cracks developed in the large parking lots.
The ground was thickly vegetated and covered with thick layers of moss.
In 2004, the Toledo Public School District purchased the property for $750,000 and renovated one structure to house its central administrative office.
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Riverside Hospital Toledo (Amazing Architecture)
It was not clear what would happen to the remainder of the building. After scrappers broke into the structure and stole it, local police installed motion detectors to monitor its condition.
Even though the hospital was closed for over a decade, important equipment survived.
At the time of closure in 2002, there were nearly 270 beds. As time passed, they have become dust. Local legend says that the tunnels below the structure are haunted at night by ghosts of doctors and patients. However, nothing is certain. We discovered that the Toledo Public Schools now manages and owns the hospital. It was quite surprising and a bit unsettling.
It was December 29, 2014. The meeting was with the entire Toledo Police Department. Like many others, our day started with a drive from Toledo in Ohio to Detroit in Michigan.
We wanted to photograph the Packard Plant. We had never taken photographs of this place before, despite everyone else having done so. With a quick shift of our GPS, we quickly realized that a quick detour would take us to a lesser-known location. In no time, we were on our way towards Riverside Hospital.
After searching the area and walking around the hospital grounds, we finally found the entrance. After a thorough search of all the surrounding areas and a walk around hospital grounds, we decided one of us would go into the second-story window near the smoke stack.
He was almost as wild as a 8-cup-coffe-drinking monkey. The ladder was the most essential piece of equipment that the rest of us needed. It was quickly found. We began the perilous climb towards the window entrance with our legs clicking.
It was almost like entering a world without everything. The air is dry and stagnant, but the glass holds blood and patient records. The windows are blasted like an explosion, scattering broken pieces across filthy lab floors. Lower floors were filled by surgical and examination rooms, where water had seeped in. The air smelled like water.
It is amazing to see something so strange, such as a surgical table abandoned during a procedure and never recovered. The tray cart holding surgical instruments can still be found on the operating table. Over time, first aid supplies that are blood-soaked and needles are being abandoned more frequently. My feet were partially submerged in water from the broken pipes as I stood at the counter.
These were some of my most favorite moments. It is fascinating to feel like the outside world doesn’t know where you are. Yet, all life seems to have disappeared. Even though I know everything is perfect outside of these walls, it seems that we are the only ones living in this world. It was almost like this today.
After one wrong turn up the wrong stairs, we were quickly on our way. The police station was just a block away. We were able to navigate through the filthy, ruined halls, before realizing we needed to give up or find another way. The alternate exit seemed to be an option for a moment until six or more cars blocked the only exits.
As we sat silently, we discussed escape strategies and debated the best route. We had become separated and were now wondering where he was. Then we made our way to the lower floors where there was little chance of any progress.
As we returned to the first floor, we heard the screams of a group police officers. We were trapped in the corner of the hallway, where the whole thing began.
One member of our group heard officers looking out from a window as they entered their passcode. As we sat silently, debating our next move, and shaking the ground of the building, a loud thud filled silence. It could not be one of our best friends. He’d most likely be quiet.
We didn’t know where it might have come from. We knew it was time for us to surrender when we heard the footsteps approaching police officers.
Five officers pointed guns at us as we rounded the corner. We were trapped in a narrow corridor and stairwell, waiting for our escape.
“Raise your hands! Place your hands on the wall and take your backpacks off. It was hard to distinguish which officer was talking to whom, as things quickly became chaotic. All of us were rushed up against the mold-covered walls, and searched for weapons.
After this informal introduction, we began to talk about the building. We discovered that the current owners of the building are the Toledo Public Schools.
The Toledo Public Schools had boarded up the whole area but left the second floor unlocked. The officer said that it was lucky that we were there, as the dogs were already in the building in under two minutes. The thud was caused by the officer who found our friend who had wandered off alone and tackled him to death.
We enjoyed a pleasant conversation and shared some laughs with the officers. We would face our charges the next day. The judge and the court-appointed defense lawyer would both give us the famous advice, “make sure you get the ladder up next year.” Just hours after we left the hospital, we watched the sunset from Detroit’s Packard Plant. It was the perfect way to end our evening.
Riverside Hospital was ultimately demolished. Plans were made to make the site a green space.
A group of former employees gathered in June 2018 to open a 1972-era time capsule, which had been hidden beneath a cornerstone. The capsule contained a stethoscope, surgical instruments, and a microphone. The capsule also included a nursing cap. It also included a list with hospital employees.
Riverside Hospital was finally demolished with plans to make the site a park.
A group of ex-employees gathered in June 2018 to open a 1972 time capsule, which was buried behind a cornerstone. The capsule contained surgical instruments and a stethoscope. It also included a nursing cap, a list for hospital employees, and a visitor pamphlet. There were also revenue bond signing pen pens.
Riverside Hospital was demolished on August 22, 2018. It will take approximately five months to complete and cost $998,000.
You will be arrested if you attempt to explore the building. Number two, it is not fun to go to court. Do not forget the ladder!
Jacob Bacon took Ryan climbing through the windows and was kind enough to take a photo of it.
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