Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kansas City Tuberculosis Hospital Visit

Here's a personal account of a very scary adventure that occurred back in my high school days.

It was the summer of 1966. I was a senior at William Chrisman High School (go Bears) in Independence, Missouri. I had been working for a couple of years to get enough money to buy a car. I finally found the one I simply had to have. It wasn't a Corvette, but it was as close as I could afford at the time.

It was a 1964 Chevy Impala Super Sport. It had a 327 cubic inch engine and a four-speed on the floor. Plus it was a convertible — midnight blue with a white top and silver blue, vinyl (they didn't put leather in them back then) bucket seats. It even had a Vibrasonic radio, which they don't make any longer. Besides being pretty, she ran like a speed demon.

On that particular summer night a few of us were driving around and trying to decide what to do. One friend suggested we visit the old Kansas City Tuberculosis Hospital. (If you click that link it will take you to a very nice photo of the building in its heydey.)

This facility had been built by the prisoners at Leeds back in the forties. Since TB had basically been brought under control a few years earlier, the hospital had been closed down. But the building was still standing, high on a hill on Raytown Road overlooking the city.

We all agreed that it sounded interesting. It was a dark night, cloudy with no moon. Fortunately, I had a flashlight in the car. After parking in the abandoned lot, we began walking toward the building. It was a bit spooky. Even in the darkness it was easy to see that all of the windows had been broken out. There was a little wind whistling through the trees and a dog barking in the distance. As we walked around the building, we found a window that was low enough for us to climb through, and we began exploring the vacant halls.

The further we went, peering into the rooms with the flashlight, it became apparent that the building had been abandoned in a rush. Most of the furniture and equipment, including beds and linens, had been left behind. It was a bit shocking to see overturned wheelchairs strewn haphazardly here and there. We also saw large pieces of equipment that looked like "iron lungs."

In some of the patient rooms there were framed photographs remaining on the walls. One of these photos was of particular interest in a macabre sort of way. It was a photograph of a pretty young nurse decked out in her white uniform. The photo was signed, "Wishing you the best." The part that was startling was that someone had taken a red marker and drawn slash marks on her face and a knife sticking into her chest with the word "BITCH" written in large letters.

The further we explored, the more desolate and depressing it became. Finally, we descended the stairs and headed toward the morgue. The stench met our nostrils long before we reached the small operating room or whatever it was. As we walked through a heavy steel doorway, the flashlight illuminated an enclosure with stone walls and no windows. There was a stainless steel operating table in the center with bloody, or rusting, instruments scattered on it.

Along the wall there was a sink with a rusting faucet. As we approached this sink the smell became even more overpowering. When I shined the flashlight into the sink it illuminated a huge slab of meat, bloody and rotting. It was at about that time we decided to leave.

We never found out whether this was the remains of some poor soul, perhaps a serviceman who had served his country during World War II, or if it was a practical joke that some of the Van Horn High School, or Raytown High School hoods had decided to pull to scare some unsuspecting victims. We'll never know. But even after all these years, I still remember that evening quite vividly.


Brian said...

I like this post I will visit the tuberculosis hospital in kansas and I want to know if there I can receive help to ED because I don't want to take Generic Viagra because I am tired

Sharon said...


Since 1980, Tuberculosis has skyrocketed from over 200,000 cases to over 500,000! This astonishing number is a sign that organizations, such as yours, are important now, more than ever. As I read through your website, it is clear that we share the same passion in fighting this horrible disease. Here at,, we are dedicated to the prevention and treatment of diseases. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. We may not physically heal the suffering, but lets support their cause.
If you need more information please email me back with the subject line as your URL.

Thank You,
Sharon Vegoe

Topher0002 said...

Also known as: Kansas City Tuberculosis Hospital

Great Story, I had no idea that people did this back in the 60's. I was dating this girl that took me up there with some her friends in 1998, I remember that because i met that girl at Rockfest 98.

I had never heard of the place, we parked in front of someones house in a neighborhood nearby. It was still a bit light out but was getting close to dark. The prison that is right by the place was still functional at the time i believe and they would run kids off all the time, so we had to kinda stay close to the ground and near the treeline to get there. It seemed like it was a mile before we got there, Im not sure what the actual distance was but basically up a long gravel driveway if I remember right.

As we got close to the building everything about that night was spooky, I remember the moon being very bright and almost full, there were screams coming from the place as we approached it, not ghosts of course but other kids. It still sounded terrifying.

We went around to a backdoor and had to crawl through a window or something, the only light we had was lighters. It was like going into one of the haunted houses in Kansas City with no props and basically by yourselves, completely unsafe feeling compared to that though.

Let me tell you that I am not afraid of the paranormal, or ghosts or anything of the sort, those stories just bore me, but the realness of crazy people; criminals, drug dealers, child molestors, bums, rapists, murderers, or any other idiots out there who could be hanging out here scared the crap out of me.

As we made our way through the place our light would catch stuff on the walls, mainly grafitti on the wall with hate messages, nazi symbols, "scary" messages created by other people for effect. There was however plenty of stuff that looked original to the hospital, it did smell bad in there, especially with the summer heat. we were going from room to room, we could hear other kids in there but we didnt really see many people in there which was odd, I guess we were all on different floors.

We finally made it to the top and were on the roof and I remember just looking out off the roof and seeing the city and arrowhead stadium just over the trees. We made our way back down and were going through the rooms, we saw some stuff in one and with our lighters tried to see what it was, just a sleeping bag, an empty bottle of Jack, and a school bag. As soon as we made out what it was a guy came out of a closet or something and yelled "get away from my stuff", bumbling forward at us and then falling down, we bolted....some bum I guess.

We made our way out of there and ran back to our cars. I loved the rush, it was great, but would never do it again. I think about that night all the time.

Thanks for sharing your story bud, Its funny to see how similiar our stories are when they were 30 years apart. I know that building was was destroyed a few years back, its still easy to spot on google maps where it was though.

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Buccaneer Bruce. said...

We visited this TB hospital many years ago. The thing I remember about it were the restraining chairs in the basement, the graffiti on a lower portion of a rooftop, the 1985 phonebooks and old medical info we found and unfortunately this poor cat that this heavy old file cabinet tipped over on top of. Of course cops showed up and made me leave the 1985 phonebooks inside.

Justinus Rex said...

My great grandfather died at this hospital in 1928, and I have been trying to find the exact location of where it once stood.

BuccaneerBruce said...

It was right on the other side of the fence from that jail.

Anonymous said...

Do you remember the girls name you went with by chance?