Take a Look Inside Downey’s Creepy Abandoned Asylum

Scott Reyes photographed the corridors of the once magnificent L.A. County Poor Farm

The L.A. County Poor Farm—a refuge for the elderly, homeless, mentally ill, and disabled—opened in 1888. Immensely successful, it grew over time to house thousands of patients and hold official status as its own town before becoming part of Downey in the 1950s. Later renamed Rancho Los Amigos, it had a working farm, a Craftsman mansion for the superintendent, its own post office, a World War II Army base, and a miniature zoo before it shut down and fell into disrepair in the ’80s (the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center across the street, though, is still up and running). Now erroneously known as the Hollydale Mental Hospital, it’s dilapidated and definitely creepy—a bunch of marines even found a box of mummified legs in a freezer there during a training exercise in 2006.

Photographer Scott Reyes recently built up the courage to explore the old asylum. “From the outside it looks intact,” he says, “but inside you can see the debris from an old fire. It was really dark. I had to use my flashlight on my phone to walk around.” Here’s what he found inside.

“I had to sneak around through the roof in order to circumvent security. But I also found lots of access through broken windows and fire-damaged doors from the roof that led into the buildings.”
“I had to sneak around through the roof in order to circumvent security. But I also found lots of access through broken windows and fire-damaged doors from the roof that led into the buildings.”

Photography by Scott Reyes


“This staircase led from the fire-damaged roof down into one of the buildings.”
“This staircase led from the fire-damaged roof down into one of the buildings.”

Photography by Scott Reyes


“This is inside the building’s auditorium.”
“This is inside the building’s auditorium.”

Photography by Scott Reyes


Asylum 4

Photography bo Scott Reyes


“This building is connected to the auditorium. There were bedrooms everywhere. They were heavily damaged by a fire, but some were still intact. There were paper plates everywhere. At a few locations it looked like people had been squatting, so that could explain all the trash.”
“This building is connected to the auditorium. There were bedrooms everywhere. They were heavily damaged by a fire, but some were still intact. There were paper plates everywhere. At a few locations it looked like people had been squatting, so that could explain all the trash.”

Photography by Scott Reyes


Asylum 6

Photography by Scott Reyes


Asylum 7

Photography by Scott Reyes


“This is inside the fire-damaged building. Walking around I could see damaged office equipment, paperwork, and books. Further in I found a room that was completely destroyed. There were books everywhere. All the windows were boarded shut and the floors and walls creaked with every step. I decided to leave because I was afraid the room would collapse.”
“This is inside the fire-damaged building. Walking around I could see damaged office equipment, paperwork, and books. Further in I found a room that was completely destroyed. There were books everywhere. All the windows were boarded shut and the floors and walls creaked with every step. I decided to leave because I was afraid the room would collapse.”

Asylum 9

Photography by Scott Reyes


“This was the strangest part of the entire campus. What seems like a regular house sits in the middle of the hospital. I found multiple bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room with a chimney, a full kitchen, and a balcony.”
“This was the strangest part of the entire campus. What seems like a regular house sits in the middle of the hospital. I found multiple bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room with a chimney, a full kitchen, and a balcony.”

Photography by Scott Reyes


Asylum 11

Photography by Scott Reyes

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