Old Copley Hospital has been abandoned since 1995.
City Hospital of Aurora, Illinois was constructed in 1888 as a Queen Anne revival with space for twenty five beds. In 1931, Chicago architects Schmidt, Garden, and Erikson designed the building featuring the north entrance of the hospital, which was built for an estimated $235,000. In 1937, Ira Clifton Copley ? publisher, politician, utility tycoon, and resident of Aurora ? donated $2 million towards further expansion of the hospital, which was re-named Copley Memorial Hospital.
The original section of the hospital, constructed in 1888, still stands.
Additions to Copley Memorial were constructed through the 1970s; with each new section, the older facades of the hospital were left alone, and the end result is an eerie juxtaposition of architectural styles of the late 19th through 20th centuries.
Old Copley Hospital is a juxtaposition of various architectural styles.
In 1995, the new Rush-Copley Medical Center opened three miles southeast of Copley Memorial, and the old hospital was shuttered for good. Over twenty three years later, Copley remains abandoned but not forgotten, its broken exterior evoking painful sentiments for area residents that experienced the birth and death of loved ones within its walls. Old Copley also stirs up disgust for many other Aurora residents, as the site is contaminated with asbestos and, undoubtedly, after over two decades of vandalism and neglect leading to the proliferation of stagnant standing water, black mold.
In 2007, ownership and management of the old Copley hospital was transferred to a limited liability company (LLC) that failed to upkeep the property or take steps to prevent vandalism. Simply put, aside from local police patrols, the old hospital was accessible to anyone that wished to enter it. Urban explorers, ghost hunters, curiosity seekers, and vandals converged upon the old hospital and further hastened its decay from the inside out.
In 2017, the city of Aurora sued the LLC under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) due to the conditions inside the old Copley hospital, which endanger trespassers and emergency responders. The city of Aurora notes, ??[old Copley hospital] is in such a state of decay that it has ceased to be a building and has become an asbestos waste disposal site. The [notice of intent to sue] alleges the [LLC] created these conditions and are liable under the RCRA and Superfund statutes.?
Over two decades of neglect and vandalism have left the old hospital in very poor condition.
While complete demolition of the old hospital has been proposed in the past, the current plan veers towards preserving the hospital?s historic sections. In order to do this, expensive and extensive cleanup and asbestos removal must be conducted. From there, the hospital may become another medical facility or a senior living home.
Several windows in the hospital are obliterated, leading to severe water damage in lower floors.
As far as I know, the old Copley hospital has never been officially investigated by paranormal researchers. Urban explorers and amateur ghost hunters have reported hearing footsteps and seeing shadows within the hospital. The most fascinating story dates back to when the hospital was in operation. In 1981, a woman had her first child at old Copley hospital. Late that night, she awoke thirsty but reluctant to ring the nurse?s station for a glass of water. But there was no need, for a nun in an old-fashioned floor-length black habit entered her room and procured a glass of water for the thirsty patient. She drank the water and thanked the nun, who left the room. The following morning she was visited by two nuns in modern gray habits, and mentioned the nun of the previous night to them. They told her that no nuns they knew of wore such a habit.
In 1985, the same woman had her second child at the hospital. She became friendly with one of the nurses, who was glad to accompany her on evening walks through the maternity ward. One night, the same nun in the old-fashioned habit approached the woman and her nurse as they walked through the halls. The nurse squeezed the arm of her patient and, after the nun went by, whispered, ?Did you see that?? The woman confirmed she had seen the nun, and when they looked back, the hall was empty. The nurse told the woman the nun was a spirit, and that she was likely one of the caretakers of victims of the nearby Aurora train accident of 1895, in which a passenger train ran into an open switch, killing two boys playing on the switch and colliding with a commercial car loaded with vessels of acid. Several people suffered acid burns and other injuries, and they were likely transported to City Hospital of Aurora.
Further reading: https://www.aurora-il.org/1803/Old-Copley-Hospital-FAQs
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