LIMA — The former Lima Tuberculosis Hospital, shuttered in 1973 and sitting vacant since that time at the eastern end of Garden Boulevard/Western Ohio Street in the Shawnee area, is believed by some to be haunted and a site for paranormal activity.
For that reason, and perhaps others, it is not uncommon for thrill-seekers to walk around the grounds of the onetime tuberculosis sanatorium and post their experiences online.
The Lima Police Department is now warning such visitors that they will be arrested immediately if found trespassing at the site.
According to the department’s Facebook page, over the past weekend 102 persons trespassed on the property and 586 individuals have trespassed at the site over the previous 30 days.
The LPD will be working in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and the property owners to ensure all unlawful activity on the property ceases. Effective immediately, daily and nighttime patrols will be increased and any persons observed trespassing will be arrested on sight, with zero exceptions.
Overnight operations will be taking place on a regular basis focused solely on the arrest of any trespassers.
“The Tuberculosis Hospital property is in extremely dangerous disrepair and the structure itself is dangerous. The LPD is attempting to prevent harm and injury to trespassers and seeks the understanding and assistance of the public to accomplish that goal,” according to the Facebook post.
“The rumor since I was a kid and grew up in that neighborhood is the hospital is haunted. It’s Lima’s little own ghost story. With all the various social media apps nowadays, curious people like to walk around the hospital and post their experiences. No one is to be on the property and it is clearly marked ‘No Trespassing,’” LPD Detective Sgt. Jason Garlock said Tuesday.
According to the Opacity website the hospital, originally named The District Tuberculosis Hospital in 1911, was one of the first TB hospitals to open in the state of Ohio, with a capacity of 24 beds. It treated patients who ranged from seven to 90 years old, battling against the often fatal disease that plagued the nation. The average inpatient stay at Lima State was three to five years to undergo necessary treatment, and in later years was reduced to 1½ years.
The original building was expanded in 1927-28, and re-modeled once again in 1957, allowing up to 138 patients. The farmland that the hospital was built on once comprised of a dormitory for nurses, a male residence, staff cottages, and a scenic pond.
In 1960 the hospital’s name changed to Ottawa Valley Tuberculosis Hospital, and by 1972 the second floor was not used because of the declining number of tubercular patients. It was finally shuttered in 1973.