Old South Pittsburg Hospital Shut Down
Old South Pittsburg Hospital (OSPH) has been shut down by the City of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. The shuttered hospital is a favorite location for paranormal enthusiasts as it provides unlimited access to three levels, sits in a quiet residential neighborhood, and is easily accessible off the interstate. OSPH will remain closed for an indefinite time.
The hospital was operational from 1959-1998 until a modern hospital was built in the next town. Physician Gary Stephen Hayes and Diane D. Hayes purchased the abandoned facility in March 2000 for $202,500. At some point, the property was re-deeded in the name of Alpha Concepts, LLC, an administratively dissolved company. State records indicate the LLC was administratively dissolved in 2007. [Dissolution is not fatal for a company. It means that a company has not remained current in paying state fees; however, a company can pay late fees and become current in most states.] Early reports stated that the property was deeded to OSPH Ghost Hunts, LLC, another administratively dissolved company (2016); however, I could not confirm. Either way, the address for Alpha Concepts leads back to Dr. Hayes. It’s his Alfa Romeo tucked in one of the hallways.
An anonymous caller contacted the city complaining about black mold and possible unsafe conditions. City Administrator Gene Vess told media outlets that black mold was found, causing an environmental hazard. Coupled with the zoning violations and the lack of proper city and state business licenses, the owners face a large hurdle to clear before events may resume; however, unsuspecting travelers may not know.
According to the OSPH website, the hospital is open for business. Nothing on the site indicates problems. Their Facebook page is more candid, although overly optimistic about how long the renovations will take, let alone the cost. A quick online calculator shows that the clean-up on the black mold will run from $30,000-54,000. Ouch. The price increases if other environmental hazards, like asbestos, are discovered. Word of caution: I’m concerned with the language used on the FB page stating that their employees are removing the black mold. At no time should inexperienced employees, family, or volunteers attempt to remove black mold. Black mold is dangerous.
Additional events are actively promoted tonight. The ticketing site appeared to let me purchase a $139 ticket to investigate with the Klinge Brothers. At no time did the site alert me to the closure. Troubling.
The March 2018 closure was not the first problem OSPH has experienced. The federal government filed a lawsuit on the 1100 Holly Avenue property last September (2017). The suit alleges that the Hayes failed to pay $506,036 in unpaid taxes, plus an additional $46,679 in employment taxes from another location. To date, the suit has not been settled or come before the Court.
This week’s news of the facility being closed indefinitely highlights the problems with abandoned properties. When I investigated OSPH, I was not informed that black mold was present. I was warned not to step on the tiles in the basement chapel as they would release asbestos but nothing on black mold. [I was extremely careful in the chapel—just saying.] What happens when property owners fail to inspect the grounds for environmental hazards? Or after inspecting the property, they decide to withhold information? Deeply troubling. I will be following up over the summer with answers and comments. Stay tuned.