St. Ignatius Hospital: abandoned but not forgotten
St. Ignatius Hospital is a former manor hospital located in Colfax, Washington, United States, established in 1892 by the Sisters of Providence from Montreal, a religious institute of Roman Catholic sisters founded in 1843 by Mother Émilie Gamelin (beatified in 2001 by Pope John Paul II).
The Hospital, the first to serve Whitman County, operated from 1893-1964 and during its early years, nurses treated patients in a wooden building on-site, as construction of the hospital wasn’t complete until 1894. Historically, the first patient was a pneumonia case, and in the first month, ten patients were admitted. Three were released and seven remained. The first death was recorded in June of 1893, when F.E. Martin, a railroad employee, was crushed between railroad cars and, It seems, he is just one of the ghosts known to wander the halls still today.
The five-floor building only relied on donations and payments from patients rather than government assistance, and this eventually created a financial struggle, leading to its closing.
It was in operation until 1964, when it was shut down after the opening of Whitman Community Hospital.
The property served as an assisted living home which housed developmentally disabled adults in the bottom floors until 2000, and three years later the building was officially shut down and abandoned.
In 2015, the building was added to the Most Endangered Properties list and It’s supposedly now a very haunted location with the ghosts of former patients reclaiming the halls. On the same year, it was opened for public tours that, according to a 2017 report, earned over $30,000 in only two years.
Today legends and rumors run about the strange and unusual occurrences that happen in St. Ignatius Hospital over the years. Shadows, sightings, unexplainable sounds, people being kicked and touched and voices. A faint and eerie dripping echoes through the abandoned building, the walls are peeling and covered with graffiti, and the scents of mildew fill the air. Every window and door is boarded up and nailed shut to keep out squatters and amateur ghost hunters. Thousands of people have died here, and even though there are no more guided tours because it is officially closed, the old hospital has become a magnet for ghost enthusiasts and paranormal researchers with people who have come from as far as New York and Alaska only to explore its corridors.
St. Ignatius Hospital has been the stuff of urban legend for years and many of the rooms in the hospital are named after patients who lived there: Rose’s Room, The Children’s Room or Dave’s Room while a first-floor hallway is nicknamed “left is dead”. In the hospital’s early days, patients who entered the emergency department were taken to the right if they were treatable, and to the left if they were gravely sick or injured and in fact an elevator descends from the room to the left directly to the morgue.
The building has five floors, plus a basement. The first floor was the emergency department, second was the obstetrics wing, third was infectious disease, fourth was surgery and X-ray and the fifth was where the Sisters of Providence and nurses lived.
All that remains now are the spirits of the past.
I’m not a photographer. I’m so sorry for photos.