HOUSTON (AP) - Contaminated underground water at Houston's old Jefferson Davis Hospital site could jeopardize the sale of the property to a Dallas development company.
JPI Texas Development Inc., which has agreed to buy the hospital site from the Harris County Hospital District for nearly $6 million, says the widespread contamination was caused by leaking underground gasoline tanks on an adjacent property owned by the city of Houston.
Art Carpenter, a vice president with JPI, said the contamination is serious, but the company wants to work out an agreement with the city and the hospital district that would allow the sale to go through.
"There's a lot of gasoline out there underground. I think it's safe to say it's a very serious concern," Carpenter said. "But we're not panicking. We're not going to take any definitive action at this time. We are still committed to the deal and to resolving the issue."
The hospital site, just west of downtown, contains an 11-story hospital building closed since 1989, and a six-story administration building abandoned since 1991. The boarded-up buildings have become an eyesore in recent years and have sparked numerous complaints that they are a magnet for vagrants and vandals.
JPI, which plans to build a 550-unit multifamily apartment complex on the site, informed the hospital district's Board of Managers about the contamination on Thursday.
Carpenter said his company's tests show contaminated soil and water throughout more than one-third of the site. He said the contamination is worst near the city's vehicle-maintenance facility, just southeast of the 11-acre hospital site.
Dan Jones, the city's deputy director of public works and engineering, said the city discovered gasoline contamination on its site in 1992, and removed seven underground fuel tanks holding from 200 to 800 gallons each. Since then, he said, the city has spent approximately $200,000 to clean up its site.
"If in fact it did come from our site, we believe it's relatively old," he said. "Our site is tight today and has been since the late '70s."
But as recently as October, the city also found "old" contamination in a city right-of-way on the hospital site and is now trying to determine where it came from and how far it may have spread.
I was looking for more info on Jefferson Davis and I found this in a list of cemeteries:
OLD CITY CEMETERY
Located at Girard at Elder, Houston,Texas. Under the old Jefferson Davis Hospital and other city buildings. Cemetery 1836-?, Confederate graveyard within cemetery now under firestation. Only gravestones showing are the Super family. At one time was a very large city cemetery.
HOW DOES A CITY LOSE 10,000 GRAVES!!!!!!! BECAUSE OF GREED-GREED-GREED!!!!!! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOUSTON OLD CITY CEMETERY
MONUMENTS EST. 1836
"What Type Of Epitaph Would Best Honor The Deceased?"
HOUSTON OLD CITY CEMETERY 1986
"This Site Available" "Utility Hookups Included"
"Call For Info" MARGULIES, 1986 Houston Post. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By 1840, Founders Cemetery became full. A new cemetery was created on a 5 acre tract near White Oak Bayou. There was four sections. Potters field, black, the rich, and all others. Victims of yellow fellow were burial here. By the 1870's the cemetery was almost full. Last burial's around 1904. In the 1920's the City of Houston and Harris County constructed the county hospital named later as JEFFERSON DAVIS HOSPITAL. Theoma Smith,73, stated "They are out there digging up peoples graves and just throwing the bones out!'' Joseph M., 80, remembers when they were building the hospital, there were putting bones in nail kegs or crates.
Were they reburied?, no one knows for sure. In 1968, bones were discovered when the Fire Department maintenance facilities was built. These bones were reburied in the MAGNOLIA CEMETERY in Houston.
On Sept. 6,1986 the City of Houston dug a 20 foot tench near Girard St. and uncovered 20 or more graves from the 1840 City Cemetery. Bones were taken from graves by workers.
There are still more graves out there. Why was something not done about this historical cemetery from the beginning. Houston,Texas should be ashamed of itself.
Jefferson Davis Hospital
From time to time I have noticed spurts where we get dozens of questions about particular locations. I usually find that something has been in the media to prompt the queries. Lately it has been about Jefferson Davis Hospital. I've spent a lot of time digging through articles to find out what I can. I was surprised to find that there are actually 2 Jefferson Davis Hospitals on the Harris County Hospital District's list. The second was demolished some years ago, but the older of the 2 is still standing.
The area near White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou may have been an obscure English settlement in the 1600s. During some excavation work done in the area, approximately 60 "Black Earth Graves" were uncovered. These were used by the English from about the 1550s to bury plague victims. After Houston was founded in 1836, the land was deeded by one of the Allen Bros. companies to the city for the sum of $750.00.
In 1840, the first city cemetery was becoming too crowded. When the land was deeded in 1840, a 2nd public cemetery, called simply "City Cemetery", was designated. The cemetery was segregated, and some of the sections were designated for blacks, gunfighters/suicides/undesirables, Odd Fellows, Masons, and some lots for sale to the highest bidder. In 1867 Houston was hit by a plague of Yellow Fever, and many victims were buried in City Cemetery. The victims included Confederate soldiers, Union soldiers, and everyday people. In the late 1800s, the cemetery was so full that a third public cemetery was designated off of Allen Parkway. The third cemetery later ended up underneath Allen Parkway Village, a public housing project (I remember when that was re-discovered!). The City Cemetery received its last interrment in 1904 and was de-certified soon afterward due to neglect. It is estimated that there are 5,000-6,000 people buried there, with 3,000 under the Elder St. location of Jefferson Davis Hospital.
Construction on the Hospital began in 1924. It seems that the Odd Fellows never used their section, and the Masons exhumed most or all of their dead prior to construction. During construction, a Mr. Super took a position over his family plot, and drove the construction foreman off with a few blasts from his shotgun. The three Super family graves are located on present day Girard St. Construction was opposed by various groups representing the interests of Confederate veterans, and they allowed construction to continue with the understanding that the hospital would be named after the President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis. Since the completion, a monument to the Confederate veterans buried there has been erected on the hospital grounds. The basement was built above ground to avoid disturbing the cemetery too much.
JDH served as a charity hospital from 1924 until 1938 when the new Jefferson Davis Hospital was built on Allen Parkway (now demolished). It has at times stood vacant, housed a venereal disease clinic, psychiatric hospital, juvenile detention ward, food stamp distribution center, Cenikor (drug & alcohol rehab), and served as records storage for the Harris County Hospital District.
The fire department next door was constructed in 1968 on another section of City Cemetery. During a maintenance project in the mid-1980s, human remains were unearthed by the fire department and City Cemetery was re-discovered. There is indication that maintenance crews may have desecrated and looted some graves - taking sections of bone - before U of H archaeologists could step in.
The land has gone through questions of ownership (city or county?) and is now for sale. A major concern is that the cemetery not be damaged further by demolishing the building. Archaeologists believe it is in the cemetery's best interest to let the old hospital building stand.
There have been reports of ghostly doctors, nurses and patients in the old building. We have received a first-hand report that some ghostly activity may have followed the descendent of a Confederate hero home from the site. An apparition of a man has been seen on the third floor and most people avoid going down to the basement.
this was written by by Edward Soria link to this Texas haunting website by clicking here
Jefferson Davis Hospital was built in the 1920's atop several thousand graves, including the graves of confederate soldiers. This was met with resistance from the soldier's families, but the city managed to come to an agreement with the families regarding the construction of the building. Since the city was not removing the graves, they agreed to only build above ground and to name the hospital after the confederate President, Jefferson Davis. The city eventually out grew the hospital and decided to use the building for medical record storage. It was briefly rented out to Cenikor, a drug rehabilitation program, but other than that the building has only stored records since it's closing. It is now abandoned and has been for many years. The old building has been the sight of many reported ghostly sightings and sounds over the years. It is assumed that the haunting is the result of the desecration of the graves resulting from the city's greed and disrespect and their decision to build above the cemetery. I have conducted four investigations at the hospital with varied results. The following is an account of those investigations compiled into one report.
The old building is completely vacant now, inhabited only by a few passing vagrants. It is very run down, but still has something of an eerie beauty to it. The architecture is impressive to say the least. When you get there, you get the feeling that this is not a safe place to be at any time of the day or night. I can't help but worry more about the living than the dead at this place. Every investigation at Jefferson Davis Hospital included a sweep of the entire building beginning at the basement and ending in the attic. We systematically cleared each floor so that we would be aware of any other people in the building at that time. Once we reached the attic, we were able to relax a little and make our way back down floor by floor to the basement where the highlight of each investigation took place.
As with all haunted places, the building seemed to be more active on some nights than others. On the floors above the basement, investigators reported at times feelings of being followed, uneasiness and a desire to leave certain areas. Once we reached the basement after the initial sweep, it was the routine to stop at this particular room in the basement (the one with all our empty film canisters) where we would sit on the floor very closely to one another and turn off all of the equipment including flashlights. There we would remain in darkness and silence for around 20 minutes. The only light came from an occasional camera flash. On one night in particular, the room seemed very active. After all equipment was shut off we got the feeling that someone else had joined us in the room. A camera flash proved that it was still just the investigators gathered here but I could still feel this presence strongly. I can best describe it as what you would expect two repelling magnets to feel as they were being pushed towards each other. The basement seems to be the center of activity in my opinion. Of course upon entering the basement, the first thing you see is large spray painted letters stating "Kill a pig for Satan" along with a large pentagram underneath. This kind of set the mood.
Photos taken at night around the hospital produced several orbs, but none of the pictures taken in the basement revealed any thing more than walls. Two digital recordings of investigations produced no results, but if I ever go back I would like to try my luck with a cassette recorder. I've heard of other investigators recording several EVPS on tape there. I do have one sighting to report, which occurred at the end of our second investigation. We had gathered our equipment, left the building and then walked out to our cars parked in the street. We stood around and began talking about the night's events. As I was talking to fellow investigators, I noticed a man walking rather quickly in our general direction along the fence. I paid very close attention to him because it was late at night, and I was concerned for the safety of the group. He was a solid dark gray figure with all the features of a man from the shoulders up. As I watched him walking, he got about ¾ way down the fence and then disappeared. I took a couple of steps to the right and looked down the fence line, but no one was there. Without drawing a diagram, all I can say is there is absolutely no way any person could have totally vanished into thin air in the two to three seconds that this spirit did! All possible explanations were ruled out.
There seems to be a strong police presence at the building both day and night with marked and unmarked cars passing by there on a regular basis. One officer told me that bad things seem to happen around the hospital, and people have been known to be hurt there as well.