Arroyo Del Valle Sanitarium
5555 Arroyo Rd, Livermore, California 94550
The Arroyo Del Valle Sanitarium was a hospital for tuberculosis patients about five miles south of Livermore situated on about 258 acres of woods. It opened in 1918. It operated until 1960, and in its 42 years, cared for more than 10,000 patients.
Except for the 1973 Warlock Moon movie being filmed on site, the sanitarium sat vacant, becoming the stuff of ghost stories and urban legends.
In addition to the stories of the ghosts of tuberculosis patients wandering the area, there's an urban legend about a former groundskeeper who apparently killed all the patients in the children's ward and then committed suicide. The sounds of the children's screams can still be heard at night.
In 1999, construction began on Camp Arroyo, a children's youth camp, and many of the sanitarium's buildings were knocked down and cleared. However, many of the sanitarium's foundations remain. Although supposedly the building housing the sanitarium's boiler room still stands. But if the ghost of a deranged groundskeeper really does exist, was bringing him new children to murder a good idea?
- Suzi of Oakland, CA on 2018-04-28 said:
- It is NOT a camp for children to live out their last days. It is a modern YMCA camp with a ropes course, a pool, activities, and new cabins. I've been there at least 4 or 5 times as a adult chaperone on trips and the grounds do NOT feel the least bit haunted.
- conley of boise, idaho on 2017-12-04 said:
I was a patient there as a kid age 13, youngest person in the adult dorms, in the 1950s, and had advanced TB. I was there a year, saw people die of hemorrhages, had way too many X-rays, was never allowed out of bed for months, was bullied by a Big Nurse, like Nurse Ratchet in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," witnessed a whole subculture of practical jokes and alcoholism and gambling and sex, took meds three times a day and pneumoparitaneum weekly, along with fluoroscopes, and finally got out to live happily ever after. After law school, became a river guide. If you are curious about what life in a TB sanatorium was like, read The Plague and I or The Rack or Magic Mountain or The Air We Breathe.
- FlyinRaven of Hayward, Calif on 2017-10-18 said:
- Is there a way you can go around the camp to get to what is left of the Santiuraim?
- Ken Lundin of Livermore , CA on 2017-09-15 said:
- When I was a child of about 12, I remember going near there for a family members company picnic. Me, my brothers and a few friends would go to abandoned hospital and look around. I always thought it was a very interesting place however not scary. There were old doctoral tools and such everywhere but I found the most interesting things about the place was the construction of it. Classic old and yet classy. Even though I remember how the paint was peeling and many of the walls were falling apart it was quite intriguing. We went there on a couple of occasions and if I had only known where I was I would have examined it a little further.
- Audrey Ritzer on 2017-07-02 said:
- I was in a foster care facility located there about 1981, I was about 14. I remember horses and meadow's and the asbestos sign's and broken bed's and toy's. it was scary and beautiful at the same time. I never looked it up untill right now.Interesting.
- Anonymous on 2017-02-13 said:
- I myself used to go up there late at night with friends. We found it interesting, fascinating would be more like it. We would explore all of the buildings. We did find some old medical papers in an old filing cabinet giving the history of some of the patients. other than that we never did find anything weird except a room full of Coke a Cola, and I do mean hundreds of cases. Always wondered what they were doing there, and who put them in there, and why. It was fascinating back then to wander the grounds and check out the old buildings. Phil Kasper
- Bill Winn of Visalia, CA on 2016-05-08 said:
- Doing historical TB research. The first director of nursing was Christine Henderson. She was there in 1918. She left Livermore to move to Springville in Tulare County, CA where she became the Superintendent of the TB Sanatorium that opened there. She married Earl Kinyon a dairyman and they had one child Peggy when she was was about 40 years old. The couple ran a boy's camp in the 1940's near Springville.
- Renee Sargent of Castro Valley, California on 2015-09-16 said:
- In my early 20's I moved to Livermore. Met a bunch of local kids my age. A large group of us would take off in our cars down all the back roads at night. Tesla, Mines, Patterson Pass, all of them. They were great nights spent . One night we found ourselves at the Sanitarium. The front entry stairs were all but rotted away, so we were able to enter through a side entry way, or back I cant really remember. The outside and inside were covered in graffiti. One really spooked me. It was a skull and huge on outter front left top floor wall. Well once inside we , about 7 or 8 of us cautiously explored a ver dilapidated main building. Punched in walls, ragged ceilings and walls. At one point when we were all coming down the main stair case with several turns and landings back down to the main lobby we were attacked by a very small bat and we all FREAKED out !! LOL. It was so small like a little brown mouse size you might find in a cellar. I dont know why it kept diving down upon us and slapping into our heads and shoulders but it was not happy we were there. Then we explored thr grounds and passed many old house looking structures but did not enter those. To the west of the main sanitarium a bit a ways away there was some industrial type building with large boiler type things and walk way rafters high above we actually walked along. I cant remember what the building had said on it but it was very cool and old and had stated exactly what the building was . Something like maybe a public works or similar type I dont know. The whole experience was very fun and felt much safer with the large number of us together. I remember we peeked into the basement area of the main sanitarium building through a small square door and saw an antique iron lung . We were all too scared to go in down there. I think we didnt go into the rest of the house structures because all had signs warning of asbestos poisoning. Now I remember . Signs on everything condemning and warning. It was a great experience and it created a life long interest to explore old places in me which I still would love to do but have not had the opportunity to do or the people to go with . Now it is a camp for terminally ill children to help them live out their last days in . Very touching.
- Joe Pfadt of Cottonwood, Ca. on 2014-03-24 said:
- I was a watchman at Arroyo from
'72-'74 & was there for the filming of Warlock Moon.
I always felt that I was being
watched when making my rounds ,
but never heard anything like
screams ,only the sound of rats
Last Edited: 2013-10-25