Koch Hospital Historical Society

An Online Resource Dedicated to Remembering the Koch Hospital Site in St. Louis County Missouri


Add a Comment
  1. There were sculls, arm and sawed off leg bones found in a sink hole down the hill from the old grave stones. I lived on Malone drive for a long time as a kid and invited the county and the police down there to show them. They were amazed and were also ready to leave at dusk. – Tim Lawson, Dec 18, 2008

  2. I remember being a kid and going to the nearby soccer fields. Passing the hospital building was very eerie, especially with the building and vegetation covered in white dust from the quarry/construction business. I also remember a black cat walking on one of the bottom windows. It was right out of a horror movie. – Joe, Jan 14, 2009

  3. well im a teenager and me and my friends very oftenly go down there and it is an extremely cool place and i think we found one of the sink hole which me and a friend have found bones in. – Mike, Mar 19, 2009

  4. I forgot to mention that if you look at the map above there actually was an underground tunnel that connected all the buildings. They connected from the administration building to the engine room. Everything was connected. Once you got inside you could go to pretty much any building underground. – Ted, Apr 10, 2009

  5. My Bestfriend also lives on hickory hill. we love exploring the woods, but we also dont know much about it. She’s been on the hospital grounds and has gone up to the water tower, but then they tore it down a few years ago. Shes always said it was really creepy back there. We’ve also found some gravestones, but they’re most likely not from the Hospital because they were located behind the Elks club. We think it was an old family graveyard from the bussen family. – Lauren, July 14, 2009

  6. I sure enjoyed reading all these comments. In 1984 or 85, during my tenure at Mehlville High, I rode bikes with friends in search of the haunted hospital. I have a vague picture in my memory of a building, which I was too chicken to explore. I clearly remember the tower though. I think now this must have been a water tower, shaped like a castle turret. Someone told me back then that it was part of a mansion that a man built for his wife, who died suddenly and he never finished it. What a bunch of malarky, but the story stuck in my head till now. Well, too bad that every last one of those buildings was torn down. It would have at least been well to save the roads and foundation footprints. Yes, this place is sacred. I drove up RKH road today and saw lots of discouraging signs about the Bussen property. Guess I won’t be venturing in there any time soon! – Mike, Sept 9, 2009

  7. I am so happy to find this site. I’ve been to both places mentioned – Bee Tree Castle and Koch Hospital Road and have looked, but never found any history or explaination for either place. We used to go in the woods behind the soccer fields by the tower when I was a teenager and you just always had the feeling that something was staring at you and you would hear all these noises. Very creepy, but we always left at dusk.

    I took a friend of mine there a about 8 years ago and we walked along the soccer fields in 90 degree weather and as we walked along the edge different parts of our bodies would feel like they were in air conditioning. I don’t know about anyone else, but when it’s that hot out in St. Louis I don’t feel like my hand or my lower left calf for example is in 60 degree weather, while the rest of my body is burning up. Nothing normal about that.

    4 years later I told a couple friends about it, who decided to go down there one night and they brought back the head of a statue of a little girl. I would not allow the statue in my house (for obvious reasons), but they took a picture of it and the eyes lite up and seemed to follow you where ever you went. I encouraged them to take it back for everyones sake. I know enough that you don’t want to take something from a spot like this one. One of the girls that went started complaining of having reoccuring dreams of a woman named Margaret Ives. I’ve done minimal research, but haven’t been able to find anything on a woman names Margaret Ives connected with the hospital. The girl was saying that this woman was trying to attack her in her sleep. Forget about common sense, we were all so intrigued that we decided to go back there a couple nights later. I’ve always considered myself interested in the paranormal, but I’ve never seen anyone possessed, until that night. While walking on the torn up road, they claimed to have found the statue, this girl bends over and starts dry heaving and coughing. After she’s done we start trying to talk to her asking if she’s okay, she not saying a word, she staring off at nothing then she starts walking off the path headed into the woods. She doesn’t know where she going, none of us do… Her boyfriend and I are the only two that are following her /tracking her is more like it, we lose everyone else. We’re calling her name, no answer, she losses one of her shoes while walking through a thicket of woods and doesn’t stop, doesn’t look down, just keeps walking. Finally she leads us through the woods into the ditch at the edge of the Elks Lodge Parking lot and she just snaps out of it. We start questioning her about it – the girl doesn’t remember walking through the woods, losing her shoe, us talking to her, none of it. I had met this girl on a few occasions and she was not that good of an actress and if she was faking it she deserves an Oscar because it’s already a scary place, but she had me so scared and creeped out, I don’t even know how to describe it. Needless to say I haven’t been back since, but Koch Hospital Road is always on the the top of my list when talking about haunted St. Louis. – Christina, Oct 26, 2009

  8. Boy do I have a story for you. Yesterday two friends and I went down there. We saw and heard some crazy things. First of all I showed my friends the giant mound of wood chips and yes there was smoke coming out of them. Then we walked over to the origional road leading to the triangle and all three of us had started to hear things. First one of us heard keys. The other heard breathing. TheY looked petrified. But none of us knew this was going to be nothing compared to what we heard next. We had heard screaming. Bloody murder screaming from a low toned satanistic voice. All of us had never run so fast in our loves. We had almost been split up. Running through branches and trees screaming scared. We had taken pictures. We ended up finding two faces in a picture. In the other where we heard the screamig we found “orbs” I felt like we were being watched. We went back after gathering ourselves because I had wanted to take an EVP. This evp would end up taking 22 min. During this EVP my shirt was being pulled and grabbed. My friends just staring at me. We couldn’t believe it. Then we started asking yes or no questions because we started hearing more noises. We said “here is how we can talk for a yes you can make a noise and for a no just don’t do anything, do you understand?” and we heard it. We preceded to ask questions such as the following; “are you between the ages of 30-50 and we got a yes. Are there others here with you? We got a yes. He died of a disease Apparently. We had to leave because my friend was getting picked up soon though. After getting home and reviewing our findings we found two faces and a few orbs. My friend who was still with me and I were so excited so we went back but found nothing more. I might go back today. – Matt, Feb 10, 2010

  9. I grew up in the area, volunteered at the hospital and spent much of my adolescence playing in the fields that have long since overgrown. While in operation, the city maintained the grounds in a pastoral park like environment. At least since the late ‘60’s there have been places where erosion has exposed bones. Every now and then a few are brought to public attention and interest is rekindled. The anthropology department at Washington University has looked into it. Apparently some of those old germs may still be active in those old bones making it unlikely any development will happen on the site anytime soon. I, personally, would like some of the brush cleared returning some of it to its pre 1983 condition and a memorial erected to the memory, such as it is to the thousands of people buried there.
    I spent many overnights in those woodes and fields and never once encountered anything other then the wild critters that live there. THe last medical administrator was a Doctor Chou. His son, Steve, is something of a historian working for the library in Hanibal, MO. He says there are around 25,000 graves, only around half a dozen marked. The 56th Regiment was removed to the National Cemetery in May 1939. The obelisk that is their marker, one of the largest in the Nat. Cemetery, originally stood on the hospital grounds. THe regiment was formed from freed slaves. They were returning from having occupied Helena, AR in Sept 1866 to be mustered out as free men for the first time in their life. THey were originally cleared but by the time their boat was approaching the downtown levee, several began showing symptoms and they were turned around back to the Sanitary Hospital.
    According to City records, it opened in 1853 and was known as Sanitary Hospital and till 1910 all riverboats coming from below the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers had to stop and be checked for symptoms of communicable diseases such as cholera, typhoid and yellow fever. It was converted to a tuberculosis sanitarium in 1910. When I started volunteering there around 1970, only the north wing was for TB sufferers, the rest housing indigent disabled. THere were folks born when Grant was president, a handful of Spanish American war veterans, and a lot of WW1 vets. I remember talking to folks during one of the moon walks and they were relating the first time they rode in a car, used a telephone, saw an electric light or an airplane. I have so many memories tied up in that place. When they tore it down, I suppose because of its diseased past, they literally overturned the very foundation of the place and oblitered connecting sections of the roads that navigated the geography. There are very few trails anymore, mostly just deer trails. THe area around the few marked graves is so overgrown it is almost impossible to approach except in the winter and it wont be easy even then. – Tom, Mar 12, 2010

  10. My family & I lived in the superintendant’s house for 6 years from 1976-83, up to the time the hospital was closed. I was a freshman in highschool when we moved there. It was an amazing place to live as a kid, endless places to explore. My brother and sisters & I were drafted the year of the huge snow, 81 or 82, to work in the kitchen of the hospital. The staff couldn’t get to the hospital, St. Louis was closed due to the snow.

    Our mail was delivered to the hospital post office on the bottom floor of the hospital, in was a scary adventure just to pick up the mail in that place. I used to roam all over the property with my dog and I remember it sometimes felt like someone was watching but I usually put that off to the security people who were in the area. I remember the basement of our house, it was well lit and not creepy excpet that I’d swear there was something or someone down there. We hated going down there just to put clothes in the washing machine. I’d heard that after the hospital was closed, after we moved out of the house that there was a fire in the house. I’m glad I wasn’t there to see the place razed but I’d sure like to visit the area again just to feel the place again. – Steve P, May 10, 2010

  11. Wow. I’ve lived in Oakville for nearly 20 years; daily drove my kids to Beasley Elementary, down Koch Road; felt the blast from the quarry in the house we lived in; attended countless soccer games on Bussen Fields, while my kids played by the Elks club; and listen late at night for the sound of the train whistling along the tracks down by the river. And I never, ever, not even once heard anything about this! I did wonder about all the signs and secrecy that seems to shroud the area, but I just assumed it had to do with the quarry and safety issues.

    I will say this, however, I am fairly intuitive and have had a few unexplained experiences in the past that could be construed as paranormal. And I always felt creeped out around the Elks Lodge and by the woods at the back of the soccer fields. I always watched the little kids carefully and refused to let my kids explore in those woods. Once, walking to the car on the nearly deserted parking lot, I felt like someone was following us, but I didn’t see anyone. I rushed the kids into the car and got out of there just as it was getting dark.

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. – Sparker, June 29, 2010

  12. I am glad that there is this website about Koch hospital. My husband worked as the security gaurd on the midnite shift in the 80’s and I would go with him to keep him company. There where many of nites when we could hear little kids screaming and crying but there was never anyone there. You could also here people talking in low voices in what was suppose to be the garden area out front of the building. Plus you always felt like people where watching you out the windows. There where times when you could see lites flicker in the windows and there was no electric or water to the place the worked. I know there where nites where that place would just freak me out to be the and couldn’t wait till sun up. There is alot of spirits that walk that ground that is not a peace. They don’t mean no harm they just want to go home. I think that Koch Hospital grounds should have a marker on it remembering all the lost souls that are there. I have seen alot of spooky things there and have heard alot of things in that hospital. I have seen some of the grave stone I would clean the debris from them. Yes there was a fire in the house and there was only part of it left standing.

    Yes there was underground tunnels all the Koch Hospital grounds that connect each buildings and we have been in them and heard people screaming. You could hear something like a machine motor humm and keys jingling. Just the thought of Koch Hospital brings tears to my eyes. Koch Hospital was haunted that is for sure but like I said before the spirits aren’t there to hurt you but to find their way home they are lost. If you go there please respect the deceased and be respectful to them.

    Thanks again for the website. – Linda, Oct 27, 2010

  13. These stories are hilarious! I grew up on the corner of Koch and Hickory Hill and my brother and sister and I basically lived in the woods surrounding the hospital during the summers in the 60s. I know those woods like the back of my hand. We frequently visited the hospital as well. I’ve walked the grounds recently, near the buildings, the old dump, the fabulous creek. Have never had any creepy experience whether it was in the daytime or night. But who knows???? – Dana, Nov 9, 2010

  14. In 1983 we bought a home that backs up to the woods behind the Koch Hospital property. We still live there. At that time the hospital buildings were still standing. Not long after we moved there the buildings were put to use to house female prisoners and much to our horror the site was being considered for a minimum correction facility. The idea was not well received and finally dismissed. After moving into the house my grandmother informed me that her first husband, my mother’s father, had been a TB patient at Koch Hospital in the early 30s. He died when my mother was 4 years old back in 1936 I believe. I’ve always felt a connection with the area, maybe imagined because it was a way of feeling connected to my grandfather who I never had the pleasure to meet and that I know so little about. When we first moved to the area I often walked the property with a neighbor. I didn’t know anything much about the site then and didn’t really have any paranormal experiences but there is definitely a feeling that the place has about it. When the buildings were razed I think the story was that the condition of the buildings made them a danger especially with there being an asbestos problem. Over the years there had been talk of developing that area with homes and even talk of a shopping center of some sort. My understanding was that there was a problem with the underground blasting or whatever from Bussen or something to do with underground mineral rights or something.
    Today on my way to work, driving down Koch Rd., it hit me that I know so little about the area literally in my back yard and I thought I should start to find out more about it. Strangely enough I came across this site and was facinated by what I read. Even more interesting was that I found my ex son-in-law had made an entry. Very interesting that I would just happen to find my way to this. Almost like an unseen hand guided me.
    I love the idea of the area being made into a park setting. It would be great and certainly a nice tribute to the many who may be buried there. I can’t wait until I can spend more time exploring all this. I would be interested in helping promote the idea of the park memorial. – Apr 5, 2011

  15. I have lived on Magoffin since the mid 70’s. This is the road that leads directly to Busssen Soccer Feilds. Koch Hospital Was a Playground for many of us kids around the neighborhood. We had 2 story Clubhouse in the woods between Bordoux and The Elks lodge road. The Entire area from the lodge to the creek that runs along Bordoux is a Huge Cemetery. I donno how many gravestones me and my Buddies sat back up and tried to read. Our club house was smackdab in the middle of it. The Elks lodge had a Haunted trail one year in the early 90s. I worked to help clear a trail for them and it became apperant just how big the scale of the abandonded Cemetery actually was.

    The Hospital was Beutiful… As kids we never had any issue with Ghost or any BS there but we were not going down there to trip out or smoke up either. I remember the huge old growth trees on the Hosp grounds. It really was a shame it was tore down. I dont know really what they could have done with it but I truely miss seeing the Grand buildings. For years I always made a point to drive up Koch road just to see the old tower peaking up through the trees…. And then………….It was gone. – Allen, Apr 11, 2011

  16. I cannot believe I came upon this site by accident. My mother worked as an x-ray technician from about 1945 until she retired because of a disability in the 80s. I spent many days at Koch – she worked 1/2 day on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I remember doctors living there and I would play with their children – the one name I can recall quickly was Dr. Russell and his children. Clotilde was the telephone operator and I played with her daughter. My mother would sometimes help out on the telephone. I knew that place inside out but manay of those memories have faded. I do remember going to the ward as a child with patients in rooms with the windows open – part of the recovery. There was also a coffee shop (at least I think it was) run by Mrs. Hipp and her two sons. There was a building down from the Hospital, Riverside – for seniors like a nursing home. I worked as a Red Cross volunteer in the summertime. I also had a little shop with candy and stuff from Mrs. Hipp. Some of the comments on this blog reminded me of so many things and I was surprised to read about Dr. Chou, the last superintendent. I use to babysit for his children and what a surprise to learn that his son, Steve, works in the library in Hannibal. I would love more information on Steve Chou if anyone knows anything about him. There was also a school teacher there – I think here name was Miss Lamb – I remember her because she took me and my mother to a ballet and I was hooked – it was the Russian ballerina – Margot Fontyn(spell?) and the male dancer Nuve (sp?) I know I am messing the spelling of the names up. There was also a Johnny Perboyer who worked there I think maybe in maintenance – he was a funny – always a big smile and laugh.

    I believe it was Dr. Pianedo (?) who lived there and I think they had a standard chocolate poodle! I loved that poodle but he was a big baby. I think the Dr. Pianedo had a stepson or one of the doctors did and I dated him – his name was Michael. Oh the memories. I could go on and on but I am messing the names up so much. I would love to hear more about the hospital – we were very sad when they tore the hospital down – it had so much historical value! But it was politics and we all know how that goes. – Dianne, May 17, 2011

  17. I am Steve Chou, Dr. Chou’s son. My parents lived in the doctor’s quarters there at Koch Hospital from the 1950’s until the facility closed in 1983. Because Koch Hospital was more than a hospital to me, it was my home until I left for college in 1976, I suppose I have a unique perspective on the place. I vividly remember so many of the sights and sounds that were an everyday part of life. I almost never ventured into the wards (that was forbidden by my father), but I remember well the cafeteria, the front lobby, the telephone switchboard, the Koch Exchange, the post office in the basement. I remember evenings in the doctor’s lounge, where the other doctors and or wives would gather and visit. Dr. (Mario) Pianetto and his wife Amelia lived in Apartment 12, which was the penthouse apartment. Amelia worked in the business office, I think. As was mentioned in Dianne’s post, they did have a standard poodle, Nino. I dogsat for them when they went to Argentina in the summer of 1968. Dr. (Albert) Kaplan and his wife lived in the apartment closest to the doctor’s lounge. Mr. (Charles) Steers, the hospital administrator from the late 1960’s until the early 1970’s, lived in one of the smaller apartments. He was single. We lived in a double apartment. We had a dog, too, it looked like a beagle/dauchsund mix. So many memories…. by the way, for anyone interested, I have a facebook page, and I have posted some pictures of Robert Koch Hospital in one of my albums. Feel free to visit and take a look. – Steve Chou, May 29, 2011

  18. I have often wondered what happened to the Riverside Unit and the lovely people who spent their last years there. I was fortunate to work at the main hospital and Riverside as a college student for a few years. I worked in the Occupational Therapy Department as an OT aide. My major assignment was the surgical wing. Later, I was asked to go to Riverside and do what I could to provide services to both the men and women. During the day, another older aide worked with the women doing needlework. I believe the Riverside was a fairly new program and served as the St. Lous City, Old Folks Home. The patients were in their eighties and upward, all but a very few were mobile. All had one thing in common. They had no personal resources and no visitors that I ever saw. However, the atmosphere was quite positive, which is a tribute to the staff and the of the female physcian, in charge.

    We started with about ten patients who expressed interest in seeing what we could do to make the days more interesting. We had nothing but a good sized room in the basement of that old building off a huge musky creepy basement area. Somehow I found brooms, mops, rags, etc to get started. We did not have funds for work tables or storage. Someone in the main building gave me permission to go through an area, on one the top floors of the main building, to see if there was anything we could use. I found a huge round table, a breakfront to store our tools, and a long buffet we could use as a workbench. We also found some tables and chairs to put in a large space outside our little work room.
    I contacted hardware stores, flooring places and a millwork business for donations of items we could use. We got a lot of floor tiles, odd sized table leaves from a laminate company, wood from the millwork shop, and lot of glue from a hardware store.

    The men cut and glued the floor tiles to the top of the long buffet and the table to make a work surface. They organized the things I brought in from here and there. The ladies already had a table and a couple of storage cabinets for the needlework supplies.

    Each day, after my classes at Webster College, I drove home, grabbed a sandwich and glass of milk, and my dog Kevin. We jumped in my old Nash Rambler convertible that my Dad bought for $50. We headed down Lindbergh toward Koch hospital, with the windows or top down and music playing. I ate my sandwich and held a glass of milk between my knees as we rushed on. We didn’t want to be late. I wondered who would be sitting around the tables awaiting our arrival. Who had navigated those basement stairs and had stuffed bits of their lunch in their pockets for Kevin. If we were not early or on time, we were in big trouble. It was the high light of my day.

    The building was newly painted and clean. It did not smell like a nursing home or hospital and the staff and residents seemed positive. Two long hallways flanked a large area that served for dining and anything we wanted to use it for. It seemed empty and cried for some activity. I do not remember an area set apart for visiting, etc. There were no televisions. Computers and cell phones would not be a part of our lives for a very long time. The rooms held a white painted bed and a small bed side table. Surely, there was a chest, but I do not remember that.

    Our group discussed items they might like to make for their rooms. Wooden foot stools, popsicicle stick lamps, and sometimes braided rugs were the most popular.. Competition for Kevin’s attention abounded. He stood about as tall as a retriever and had curly red hair and big brown eyes.

    Other projects included copper enameling to make jewerly and making small favors for the dining tables One activity was well established when I arrived. That was the once per week Bingo games. The women who ran it brought lovely little personal items for the prizes. I did notice there was little or no one on one conversation and that we needed help in that area.

    I started speaking with church, scouting, and other organizations to begin an organized volunteer program. A couple of ladies came on board and did a good job of scheduling and handling the groups that wanted to come to entertain, or work individually. Some read to the residents, some wrote letters for them, and some just provided the individual love and attention we all need.

    There was no transportation so no one left the grounds. I started taking 3-4 people with me to Dohack’s for coffee and an outing. Sometime we would just drive around. Times were very different then and our black residents could not go into a cafe or coffee shop. So my mother allowed me to bring my group to our home for our coffee/tea outings. That was a big hit because we had cats, birds, dogs, and horses. On Christmas Eve, my parents opened our home to two people of my choice. A Mr. Toad Evans was always one of our guests. After dinner, we drove around to see the Christmas lights before returning to Riverside.

    I few of the ladies wanted to cook. We used the kitchen in the Doctor’s lounge for that activity. We made a few low fat, low sugar, low salt birthday cakes and treats. They were terrible!! The interest began to wane. We could not reproduce that home cooking within the limitations of their diets.

    The older adults at Riverside enriched this college girls life in ways I cannot ever explain. Most of the names escape me, but not their faces and the things I learned. One 106 year old woman had been a teacher at Blow School for years. I decided she still needed to teach. She taught me how to crochet. Each afternoon, she presented me with a small sample. I was to reproduce it and bring it for her inspection the next day. I learned the value of small pleasures, the importance of kindness, and grace, always.

    One evening the doctor asked me to see a gentleman who was blind. I borrowed a friend’s puppy and introduced him to the resident. I remember how touching the puppy brought so much pleasure to this man. I held his hands on the various spots of color. Everyone seems to have stories of their pets and that opens lots of other doors for conversation.

    I kept incontact with any of them through OT school until we moved out of state.
    I remember the director’s wife walking the poodle through the lobby. I remember kindness of the Director, Dr. Painetto, and the wisdom of the telephone operator. Her rhymes and sayingsstill go through my head. She was a very special lady. Mrs. Hipp ran the snack bar and one of her oldest son was in my graduating class.

    Steve, I think your post encouraged me to write about my experiences at Koch. If I did the math correctly, you were living there at the time. What school did you attend? I do not remember a young boy, perhaps you were out exploring.

    Our department was in the basement just down from the snack shop. I avoided that area at night, as it was as creepy as can be. I heard of the old cemetery, and an old vacant house. I guess that was the Priest’s house, someone mentioned. I used to ride my horse through the back areas of the property. I never felt the presence of anything strange or out of order. In fact, Koch hospital has nothing but good memories for me. I cannot believe how many times I ran up and down that hill from the Main Hospital to Riverside. – Sharon Ulrich Shaw, June 17, 2011

  19. I remember many times visiting the Koch hospital back in the mid ‘80’s. I remember specifically one time when me, my brother, his friend and his friends cousin went to the hospital after dusk. We drove up to the building with the headlights shining on the building and saw dark figures moving about the grounds both inside and in front of it. We completely freaked out and I tore out of there like a race car driver. That place is haunted for sure. Even though the building is no longer, I guarantee that there is still activity there. The Ghost Adventure Crew should do a lock down at Koch Hospital grounds. Too bad they tore the building down. Stupid politicians! – Scott Folmer, June 25, 2011

  20. My grandfather, John Fink III, as the last grounds superintendent at Koch Hospital. From the mid1970s to 1983 my grandparents lived on the hospital grounds. First in the hospital old superintendent’s quarters, then in an apartment in the hospital (possibly for the chief/head doctor’s Quarters) and finally at the nurse’s quarters. My grandfather was responsible for the maintenance of the roads and grounds.
    My grandmother, his wife, Geralda (Geri) Fink, was a patient there as an newborn/infant. Ruth Flynn was her name while she was a patient. She was later adopted when she was nine and her name was changed. Her mother, Anna Flynn, either had or was exposed to tuberculosis prior to my grandmother’s birth. They were quarantined there together for six months until they were cleared to return home.
    If there is going to be any kind of search for the grave sites or paranormal investigation I would love to be part of it. – Terese Duffy, Oct 23, 2011

  21. back in the late 80’s i was with a buddy checking the place out after the local news had ran a story on crazy stuff happening there…they were spinning tales of cults taking over the place and all kinds of stuff…anyway, it was winter time and there was snow on the ground. we parked down the road, snuck up to the building, found an old broken out window and stepped inside. i was freaked out…anyway, we walked down a hallway or two, checked out a couple rooms that were empty, saw some spray paint on the walls and decided to leave. when we went to exit the window we came in from, there were extra foot prints coming in….we ran like hell as fast as we could and were scared to death. still gives me shivers when i think about it…someone came right in behind us and we never even saw them…. – Matt Nov 16, 2011

  22. My Cousin lived in the house on Koch propery. Her name is Berg. Inwhich they are the ones that had the street renamed Berg Hill. They lived there for appox. 15 years. Her and her husband sold the property to the Oakville Elks.
    I live just a few blocks from Koch propery. Lived here for 30 years. Made several visits to my cousin’s house. Did not see any ghosts, but I will say that when I
    visited her home there was a certain uneasy feeling about the house.
    Drove down Koch rd. many many times to take my children to school and they would always ask what was that big building and I would tell them that it was private property and to not go there. I still drive up that road today, day and night and have never seen anything strange. I have driven up to the house just to see it again
    just to remenence of family times.. But the elks give you the evil eye as if you are not wanted there. And they are suppose to be for the good..
    I also have an ancestor who is buried on the grounds. Her name is Mary Magdalen Meyers. Cannot find any records of her. She died of small pox as a small child.
    Her sister born next after her died in 1890,she only lived for 11 days. Died from
    lock jaw. These stories about Koch are just sickening.. The county should do something about all the headstones and what is left of the cememtery that borders on the road.. They should clear out all the brush,clean it up, Find as many names as possible and leave them at their resting place. Put up a sign or marker to honor
    them. They are apart of our history of STL. – Karen Nov 20, 2011

  23. I lived on an outlying street with the woods of Koch Hospital behind my families house from 1988-2000. I spent many days with friends riding bicycles through the woods but never got too far out into the fields where the hospital used to be except for one time, the last time. I was in high school and friends and myself were wandering through the grounds when we heard noises as well, undescribable or just unable to recall them, but it was enough to scare me. The whole area was overgrown with weeds and we thought we heard something rustling through the high grasses, so we began to trying to leave in the direction we came from. Then something dark, flew up from the high grasses not far from us. It was a wild turkey, lol. It flapped it’s wings and I almost had a heart attack. I’ve never been back, but I’d love to go peek around again. – Sean D. March 6, 2012

  24. My aunt, after whom I am named, spent many years at Koch as a patient with TB 1930s-1950s. I never met her, she died in 1953 before I was born. I would love to know more about what life was like for these patients. I am an RN. I am in the process of talking with my 88 year old mother about it. My mother was a patient as well and remembering those days is difficult. Those were very dark days for her and her entire family. She was forever changed by it. My heart breaks for her and those who suffered. – Kathryn Watts, Aug 17, 2012

  25. Could this be the hospital where my great grandfather Benjamin Grizzell died? According to records I found in the regional library a couple of years ago while passing through, he died Dec. 6, 1874 in the City Hospital, St. Louis, of Pneumonia. The cemetery was “Quarantine” and the undertaker was “City”. The attending physician was Dr. Walter Wyman. I had thought it would be nice to have a stone placed to mark his grave, but if he was at Koch this probably is not possible. – John Nolan, Aug 23, 2012

  26. i lived in the home of Norman ‘Peanuts’ Berg with my mother and father sister and brother in 1966-67.Then moved to 135 East Pottle till i moved out of the family home.I as young kid spent countless hours with friends and neiborhood kids riding bicycles and motorcycles on the Berg, Bussen, and St.Louis City Hospital land. There grave markers all over the land,in the fields and the woods. When the ground was to dry and hard to bury people they would go to dry creek areas where it was easy digging. I have seen where erosion has unearthed graves. Also there is evidence of Native Americans burried also on the old hospital grounds.There are many reasons why the land is not developed yet but my guess is that until 20 years has lapsed for unmaintaned cemetary not one grave can be moved without some kind of court process. – Robert Feikert jr, Sept 26, 2012


  28. My uncle, George Kettelkamp, was Superintendant at Koch until he retired (year?), sometime before Dr. Chou. My family spent many Sunday afternoons at the Superintendent’s residence – first the Old Rock House, then the new home that replaced it. My clearest memories were from the mid thirties to the early forties:the view of the Mississippi from the Superintendent’s home; the sound of the trains passing below or switching at the power plant at the foot of the hospital grounds. My friends and I used to hike along the train tracks from Jefferson Barracks, past the Koch Hospital grounds to Cliff Cave. – Robert Kleinschmidt, March 6, 2013

  29. I grew up near Koch Hospital on Snelson Dr. We use to go back in to the wooods where my older brothers and neighborhood kids use to play on a rope-swing. I remember the water tower and the hospital but never had the nerve to go there becauase of reports of mental patients escaping. I do remember seeing grave sites near the Berg House that I didn’t know had a name when I was a kid. I remember reading somewhere that St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Churh on Telegraph had a connection with the grounds at Koch Hospital per my mom and dad’s copy of the 25 annivesary book of the Church. I also remember going to the subdivision association picnics where the soccer fields are now close to Magoffin. My friends and I use to ride are bikes back there sometimes.

    I remember hearing about satanic activty there in the woods and at the hospital.

    I remember hearing dogs bark all hours of the night close to the woods near the hospital grounds and it would give me the creeps. I still live in the house I grew up in.

    I still get an eerie feeling driving up Koch Hopsital Road at night coming from the highway. It is a very dark and wooded area.

    I remember riding my bike there in the daytime as a kid wanting to run away and I saw a very creepy guy walking on the road and I road my bike as fast as I could back home.

    I wish I could explore the area now as an adult but thre is the Elk Lodge and Bussen’s Quarry had fenced off a lot of the area – Matt S, July 22, 2013

  30. My girlfriend’s father use to wheel patients to the local Catholic Church for Communion. My mom said she use to visit a friend of her’s there in the 1950’s or 60’s Little did she know she would live close by some day. – Matt Seitz, July 22, 2013

  31. I remember when My uncle and some friends and I back in 88 or 89 went to Koch one night. We were exploring the buildings and went into Im guessing the tunnels below the hospital. I do remember seeing pipes and running along the walls wrapped in what was probably asbestos. We got out of the tunnels but in the buildings there were still hospital beds, tools, bottles and all kinds of other stuff just laying around. We went into one of the buildings up some stairs and the floor along a hallway had a whole in it where it had collapsed but we edged around it and walked into one of the rooms where we saw an altar and a huge pentagram painted on the wall. There were candles surrounding the altar and some benches. We heard rumors of Satanic rituals being performed there but then we heard foot steps so we turned off our flashlights and walked back into the hallway to leave just incase the law was there or someone we didnt want to meet. As we were walking we saw flashlights come on behind us and we started to run and we could here chains clanging behind us. We were running as fast as we could go then we came to the hole in the floor and all of us jumped over the whole down the steps and out the door we went. We hid around the corner of the building catching are breath and freaked out about the lights and the sound of the chains. Once we had our breath back we decided enough was enough and headed back to the car. One friend found a broken brick and threw it through one of the busted windows. Just in a flas the same busted brick landed right by us. Again we halled our buts back to the car and never looked back. Have not been back to koch since then. I just was browsing for Koch on the web to see if there were any stories and low and behold I found this site. Very interesting stories and mine I will never forget. – Chris D, Sept 11, 2013

  32. I worked at Robert Koch Hospital from 1974 until 1983 just before it closed. I worked in the main office. I loved it there, many a day we sat on the front steps for lunch and watched the Admiral go down the Misdissippi River and turn around. It was so full of history. A few times I got to go up into the attic where old items were stored. Wooden wheelchairs, baby beds covered in netting to keep the flies out. The hospital was not air conditioned, just some of the offices with window air conditioners. There was the main building and then the building at the bottom of the hill called Riverside. When I worked there Riverside was more of an “old folks home.” There was a tunnel going from the main hospital all the way down to Riverside. The property even had its own power plant. There were still some buildings out on the parking lot that I was told housed the leopards many years ago. I did at one time see some of the headstones on the property. The groundskeeper also lived in a house on the property. I myself worked a few overnight shifts and never encountered any sightings. I met many wonderful people in my years there and consider myself lucky to be a part of Robert Koch Hospital. – Patty Berger, Jan 13, 2014

  33. I grew up on bordeaux and like robert feikert mentioned (whom i was friends with many years) we would always be riding our bikes and adventuring up in the old soccer fields going up magoffin and into the neighborhood to get there. The whole area is now fenced off . Now i do have a question and would be interested in finding information about the house at 135 pottle. When robert and his damily lived the it was very haunted. I would love to hear the history and if it was a part of the koch complex. Ive always wanted to go up to the front door and knock and see what theyve done with the house but im too chicken. – Linda Fox, Jan 13, 2014

  34. I remember stories of My grandfather befriending a German POW, who was at the POW camp at Jefferson Barracks, but worked at Koch Hospital during the WWII.- Kurt, Jan 14, 2014

  35. I’ve lived in Oakville since 1990, which makes me still an outsider to those born and raised here, but my children all grew up here, and played soccer at Bussen Fields. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I happened on an article online when I discovered the old hospital. While I never saw it, I do remember seeing the old water tower beyond the far end of Bussen soccer fields, before it was torn down. Even before I learned of the area’s history, I felt it…on several occasions, I felt watched there, especially near dusk. Once, one of my young children told me about playing with another kid on the swings by the Elk Lodge, but no other children were there. I was interested to learn of a marked grave nearby, of a nine-year-old boy! As Matt S. posted…I’ve often felt a little eerie driving on that stretch of Koch road, especially on foggy mornings or at night. I’ve had a couple of unrelated experiences that would be considered paranormal, so maybe I’m just sensitive, but with that many people having died there, it doesn’t surprise me. – S. Parker, Jan 19, 2014

  36. My brother and I just found out that our grandfather, James Lacey Malone, died in Robert Koch Hospital in 1959 of extensive pulmonary tuberculosis. We knew nothing about the place as our father never mentioned it and we wonder why he didn’t. Was there a stigma attached to being in this hospital? His wife did not even sign the birth certificate – perhaps scared of catching diseases. My grandfather flew for Robertson aircraft, Chicago and Southern (which became Continental airlines). He was said to have flown with Charles Lindberg (I don’t know if this is true or not). My father, who was a cropduster (pilot), put on an “airshow” along the Mississippi River for my grandfather. His bed faced the river. He told my brother, when asked how he died, that “he just got tired.” I think he was embarrassed. – Melanie Fite, Feb 6, 2014

  37. My father used to work there back in the 1960s, as a custodian. – Harold Miller, Mar 23, 2014

  38. I recently (finally) discovered my Grandfather died there in 1958 of TB. My Dad’s side of my family is very small and my Dad never talked about his Dad very much except for his flying career. He only told me that he died in a hospital in St. Louis on the MS river. I ordered a copy of his death cert. and learned of Koch Hospital. On the line of the certificate that mentions cemetery , it only says “local”. This is the reason I was curious about how long they buried people on the grounds. – Pete, Apr 21, 2014

  39. Patty Burger – My mother worked at Koch at that time – X-ray technician, Doris Noonan.

    Was Clote still the telephone operator – I can’t remember! I spent lots of time there throughout the years. I was a Red Cross volunteer at Riverside and then I ran a little store (for Mrs. Hipp) for them. That was before the 1970’s. I have lots of stories about life there. I can’t remember the names of Mrs. Hipp’s son but spent times with them when I was at the hospital with my mother. – Dianne Swindle, May 7, 2014

  40. Oh yes I remember your mom. I started there in August 1974 until I left just before they closed August 1983. I loved working there, wished they never would of closed. As you know the building were old, but beautiful. I made lots of friends there that I’m still friends with. When I started there the phone operators that I can remember were, Georgia, Rose, Thelma, and another lady I can’t remember her name. Was the store at Riverside or up at the hospital? I remember your moms office was right at the bottoms of the steps coming from the main hall, right around the corner from he morgue! Thank you for contacting me, the memories are forever in my mind! – Patty Berger, May 7, 2014

  41. The store at Riverside was just in a very small room – I can only remember candy, chips and cookies.

    Do you remember Jacoby
    Good to chat with you – I have so many memories from there. They had a school there too – the doctors that lived there and on and on! – Dianne Swindle, May 8, 2014

  42. Yes it was Phyllis Jacoby and Mrs. McInnes. They worked in the Physical Therapy department. – Patty Berger, May 8, 2014

  43. That’s right – McGinnis. I’ve seen Jacoby a couple of times. Last time I saw her she told me how much I looked like my mother. I do look like her – freaks me out sometimes – you know that saying – ekk I look like my mother and also have some of her mannerisms. – Dianne Swindle, May 8, 2014

  44. My mother was working there at that time and retired from there probably in the late 80’s, but she died in 1993. The only one I can remember Dr. Chou – but I don’t know if he was there in the 50’s . Dr. Kiaruz was there but I don’t know his dates.

    I know my mother was very upset when they closed Koch because there was so much history to it – it was a political deal – how sad! – Dianne Swindle, May 9, 2014

  45. In 1962, I was a Missouri Baptist Hospital School of Nursing Student. I worked at the Koch TB Sanitarium for one rotation, It was a month and possibly 3 months. At the time they were doing pneumonectomies and filling the space where the lungs had been with sterilized ping pong balls. As students from a very conservative school of nursing, we were happy to live in the student housing on the grounds without a house mother checking on us to see if we were studying. Our first taste of freedom until we were graduate nurses and RN’s in Sept 1962. Early aka Earlene Gardner as I was known then. – Early Gardner RN, Sept 21, 2014

  46. I remember my father taking me to their physical plant at the bottom of the hill when I was a little boy. They made ice there, huge blocks and he was getting one for a party. They also generated the steam that was used to heat all the buildings in the entire complex.
    Years later I was an inspector on site when the hospital was torn down. I was in every single building and I can assure you there were no Satanic altars or even evidence of any. There was graffiti here and there but again none of it Satanic. I must admit that some of the buildings were pretty creepy. The secure wards with their steel bars and gates especially so. There was an extensive tunnel system that conveyed the steam via pipes to all the buildings on the campus. I went through all of them as well. Again no evidence of Satanic activities. Plenty of beer cans though. – Eric Bussen, Feb 20, 2015

  47. My grandmother lived there in the mid-to-late 40s. I know that she and my grandfather were married in 1943 and I believe that they met at Koch. My father was born in 1944. My dad didn’t really know his mom as she hadn’t lived with him at all, so I don’t know much (or honestly really anything) about her. I can’t seem to find much on Ancestry (which is how I ended up here). She passed away when my dad was between 6 and 8 y/o. I believe that she died of TB complications, but I’m not entirely sure. Any idea of where else I could go to try to find information on her? Her name was Marie Zimmermann and she married James Ryan, who had also been a patient there but recovered.

    1. Kathy
      The records at Ancestry.com are only useful until 1940 for the most part (that’s the latest available national census record). You might want to try the city directories section, or alternatively, check with the St. Louis Genealogical Society. They are a very good resource.

      Best of luck,
      Scott Kirwin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Koch Hospital Historical Society © 2018 Frontier Theme