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Pasadena hospital

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Does anyone remember the name of the old hospital that used to sit close to the corner of Red Bluff and Pasadena Blvd.? People in Pasadena used to refer to it as the "horse hospital." Also, a Dr. Burkhalter used to practice there.

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That was the old Red Bluff Hospital. Dr. Archie Burkhalter and Dr. Robert Pendleton owned it, until Pendleton was murdered there in December of 1966.  Burkhalter was charged with hiring the guy who killed Pendleton, but he never went to prison. His first conviction in 1970 was overturned on appeal. The second trial ended in a mistrial, and when he was brought to trial for the third time he was acquitted in 1975.

 

Burkhalter was a real piece of work.  In 1979 he was accused of hiring two men to kill his ex-wife's new husband, John Hensley. The murder attempt failed, but it left Hensley blind. Burkhalter was found guilty and sentenced to ten years in prison. While free on appeal bond, Burkhalter suffered superficial wounds when he was shot by an unknown gunman while visiting his brother in Pasadena in 1980. I have no idea where Burkhalter is today, or even if he's still alive.

 

A few years after Pendleton's murder, the hospital's name was changed to Pasadena Memorial Hospital. I think the hospital building is still there, but I don't think it's a hospital anymore.

 

 

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Thanks, FilioScotia,

Do you happen to know if the new name caught on or was it still referred to by locals as Red Bluff hospital? I'm from Pasadena,but I cannot remember. I'm old enough to remember that Burkhalter was a controversial figure, but I was not aware of all of the details. Thanks again.

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Red Bluff Hospital was its original name when it opened in the early 60s. At some point after the Pendleton murder in 1966 Burkhalter sold it, and the new owners decided to change the name because of the murder and the seemingly never ending tide of negative media stories about Burkhalter and his connection to it.

 

I grew up in Pasadena, and I can tell you that the murder of Dr. Pendleton was the biggest story you can imagine in that part of the county. For years if you wanted to start a conversation about this murder all you had to do was say the words "Red Bluff Hospital" and "Archie Burkhalter". That's why it needed a new name.

 

Even so, Pasadena locals continued calling it Red Bluff Hospital for a long time. Old habits die hard. But, time takes its toll and memories fade. At some point memories of the old name and the scandal went away. I would bet that nobody in Pasadena under the age of 50 knows anything about this.

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There are so many old cases out there. We need to start a page about this and see if people reply with stuff they know about and remember. I myself would like to hear about things from 40s and 50s.

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Dr. Pendleton delivered me on December 6th 1966.  My Grandmother told me all about this story.  As for the reason it was called the horse hospital, she told me that Burkhalter used one of the O.R.'s there to operate on a race horse.  Pendleton blew the whistle on this and that's where the rub started between the two.  I can't confirm any of this, but it makes sense.  Burkhalter and his "associates" did everything they could to get Pendleton out.  First they tried to have him removed from the Board of Directors.  Then they tried to remove his privileges at the hospital.  Next they tried to have him committed.  When all else failed, I guess they finally got rid of him by having him shot and killed.  

Edited by aj250
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I was delivered at Red Bluff Hospital by Dr. Burkhalter in 1965. He was our family physician throughout all the controversies and his trials, excepting when he was in custody. His license to practice medicine was eventually revoked after his conviction regarding the kidnapping of his ex-wife and the shooting of her new husband. He did some time and retired to Fredericksburg, Texas with his horses. He petitioned the Texas state medical board to re-instate his license in the 1990's, with the intent of practicing in Fredericksburg, but was denied. I have no idea if he is still alive. For all his controversy, I remember him as an excellent doctor with warm bedside manner, and my mother trusted no other doctor with family medical needs at the time. Burkhalter removed the appendix of myself and 3 siblings, and delivered several of my siblings along with myself. That little hospital served the community quite well until Bayshore Hospital became the major medical center of the area. Last I saw it years ago, the old hospital was abandoned.

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I've heard stories. All kinds. I knew a lady that worked there and saw a lot. Back then people were scared to talk about the stuff they saw. I've heard about the horse.. Dr. Burkhalter had expensive horses he raced and brought one in to operate on. I've also heard that they hid people from the FBI in the rooms and had a big raid. The lady that worked there has since passed away but I remember hearing the stories and thinking she was crazy. She said one night there was a guy that was hiding in the tall grass outside waiting for someone and shot and killed him. As far as the Dr that jumped from the bridge I heard it different. That apparently was the story told but anyone who knew the Dr knew it was a hit. He was a family man and the lady I knew said he would have never killed himself or hurt his wife and that speculation was this was Burkhalters work. Who knows...

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The doctor that was shot was Dr. Pendleton. I worked there for 9 years, who was the lady you're talking about? Chances are I know her, since it was only a 99 bed hospital.

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  I was 12 years old when Robert (Pendleton) was assinated by Burkhalter. Having grown up on the same block and street as Robert and his parents and younger sister, I still remember the day his sister ran to my house and told me his brother had been killed. I cryed with her, being that we played together, and Robert was always catering to us as kids at play. Me and Julia would always break out the Legos and build, build, build, courtesy of Roberts generosity. Especially I remember he would always smoke a cigar. He would chew off the ends and reminded me of James Cagney. Just my impression as a kid at 12 years old. He was a good man.

  As far as Doctor Powers, here again, he was mine and my wifes pediatrician for the birth of our first child. Yes, he did kill his wife and stuffed her in the rtunk of his car, then drove to the 610 ship channel bridge, and jumped off  before the fence began over the actual ship channel, and fell to his death.

  I know more than I'm saying, but have decided to withhold some facts to protect lifelong frineds, especially the Pendleton family. Roberts sister (Julia) and bother (David) are still friends. The block we all grew up on has been wiped clean and now sits a new school. Kruse Elementary. The Pendletons house would have sit on the immediate left corner/curb where the main entrance to the new school is on Park Lane Street between Main Street and Spooner Street. The exact spot where I heard President Kennedy had been shot walking home from school that day from the old Kruse Elementary school one block away. As a note to this, I also remember all the other kids screaming and crying because Kennedy had been shot. I also remember asking my mom when I got home, "Why is everyone crying? Did they ever meet him?" LOL..Just a kids analysis HUH? ►►►►Wished I hadn't lost my old external hard drive. It had some good pictures of the Pendletons house just before the city demolished 2 blocks for the new school. They were the last to give way, by the way, to 'Immenet Domain', by the city of Pasadena. This is a scrrenshot from a video drive-thru before they demolished the neighborhood for the new school. "The Pendleton House" and again another one of the entire block after it was cleared for the new school!


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This is all fascinating.  I always wondered if I was the last baby he delivered.  Probably not.  

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Thanks for sharing the stories above about the Red Bluff Hospital and Dr. Robert E. Pendleton Jr. . I had been told by his Mother many years ago that he had been Murdered . He was my Paternal 1st Cousin. Can anyone tell where I might find a photograph of him ?

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I am Dr. Burkhalter's grandson. To not get to long, but yes my grandfather did operate on a horse in the OR, most everything about him is true. After moving to Fredericksburg he was charged with the attempted murder of my grandmothers new lover, and convicted. In 1993 he took in 5 of us grandchildren to rase. He was an incredibly intelligent man. He was also a controling psychopath. In Fredericksburg he leased out a house on the property and in 1999 the tenant was discovered dead. On his deathbed my grandfather admitted to killing him after the two got into an argument reguarding herman killing his horse. He was poisoned. Dr. Burkhalter passed in 2012. 

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Was this hospital also known as Southmore Hospital (or Southmore General) in 1970?  That's where I was born - I was looking at my birth certificate, and the attendant's signature (there was no printing, type or hand, displayed) - a person named M. A. Richardson.  It seems like it has been closed for a while (due to hauntings - from what I have heard from family members) and bought, sold and renamed a few times ... 

 

My gosh, reading all of the previous comments, how scandalous ... very wild, knowing that's where I was born, oh my goodness

Edited by Litirice
addition

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Southmore Hospital was located on a street named Southmore. The hospital closed in 1999, it was sold to HCA who bought it and immediately closed it (they didn't want the competition). Pasadena General Hospital was located on Pasadena Blvd. I believe that street was once named Tatar. Pasadena General was renamed once or twice. I don't know if it has closed or not.  Red Bluff Hospital was located near the intersection of Red Bluff and Pasadena Blvd. I don't remember when it closed. 

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Southmore Hospital was on Southmore near the intersection with Pasadena Blvd, formerly Tatar Street. It's still there under the name Pasadena Health Center.

 

Pasadena General was about a mile north of there on Pasadena Blvd (Tatar) a block north of Thomas St. It has changed hands several times over the years, most recently in 2012 when Pristine Healthcare LLC bought it with grand plans. Here's how the Houston Chronicle reported it in August of 2012:

 

"Pasadena city officials are celebrating the arrival of Pristine Hospital which is set to take over the old Kindred Hospital building located at 1004 Seymour St. (a street that crosses Pasadena Blvd) City officials indicated the renovated 110,000 square-foot hospital facility will bring 150 new jobs to the city within six months and another 150 over the next three years. The deal for the 32-bed acute care hospital was inked after Pristine Healthcare LLC met with the Pasadena Second Century Corporation (PSCC) Board of Directors. The board eventually offered a $150,000 incentive to win the development away from the Texas Medical Center. The incentive will be paid based on the completion of certain job creation benchmarks and will be used to fund building requirements mandated by the American with Disabilities Act and asbestos removal. The healthcare company is planning to invest $7 million to renovate the structure.  Pristine Healthcare currently operates two outpatient psychiatric facilities in west Houston but plans to headquarter at the new Pasadena facility, which has been vacant for two years."

It appears that 7 million and all those hopes went down the drain. Google Maps Street View taken two years ago shows Pristine Hospital is closed and boarded up again, probably for good. 


https://www.google.com/maps/@29.7031862,-95.2011789,3a,60y,139.31h,86.73t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCXtFQT8c6ukulBd6rPjVvQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

 

Edited by FilioScotia
clarify location

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On ‎8‎/‎22‎/‎2017 at 6:46 PM, Nathan Burkhalter said:

I am Dr. Burkhalter's grandson. To not get to long, but yes my grandfather did operate on a horse in the OR, most everything about him is true. After moving to Fredericksburg he was charged with the attempted murder of my grandmothers new lover, and convicted. In 1993 he took in 5 of us grandchildren to rase. He was an incredibly intelligent man. He was also a controling psychopath. In Fredericksburg he leased out a house on the property and in 1999 the tenant was discovered dead. On his deathbed my grandfather admitted to killing him after the two got into an argument reguarding herman killing his horse. He was poisoned. Dr. Burkhalter passed in 2012. 

Nathan, I grew up a block away from some of your aunts and uncles that lived on Harrop St. Dr. B as we called him delivered me into this world  July 1956. and was Our families doctor. I have lived thru all the stories of your Grand father, but knew the gentler side of him. I remember I December of 1976 that I almost killed myself trying to Locate Dr. B. my sister was in a bad way delivering her 1st child. I drove like a madman to his home behind the Old Woolco store. I later found out that he was driving all the way in from San Antonio to help save my sister's life. I know all the Bad , but He was a Man we all Loved and Respected. He even refused to accept his doctor fee from Momma for any of Our doctor visits. Thought I would share with you something kinder than what you had to live thru. Dr. B. had his Demons but he once was a Kind Hearted Man / Family Doctor as well.

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Dr. Powers delivered me on March 30, 1978. Was told about his story and kinda felt cursed from birth because of

it! Anyways, have tried for years to find anything confirming he did kill his wife then himself, but never came across anything until now.

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Posted (edited)

Wow!!! Is all I can say about, all I’ve read about Southmore Hospital! At least that’s what it was called when my daughter, was born there in 1993!! My experience, at that hospital was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had at any hospital. I’ve had 4 daughters, but only 1 there!! My OB-GYN was rude, and degrading! And the nurse, I had should’ve been in charge of babies!!!!!! She would rub really hard, on my daughters spine to get her to wake up and eat!! It made my daughter cry in pain!! I refused to let her touch her ever again, and asked for a new nurse!! I can’t remember the doctors name!!?? But I’m kind of glad, I don’t remember!! The only reason I’m here commenting, is I was looking up the hospital to see if it was still, a paranormal hotspot!! Many years back. I found pictures on the internet, of a paranormal team there! And was shocked!! Because I remember, that awful place unfortunately!!? The only thing, that shined light on that dark place. Was the birth of my beautiful daughter!! 💕🕯🥳🌸🌟

Edited by Cherise

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In 1964, my friend’s mom across the street from us,  used to dress up and go to the Red Bluff Hospital and party like crazy with the doctors. We all heard the stories, but I continued to visit Dr. Lee as my physician. Kind of an almost clean hospital and clinic, but the care was standard for that time. I’m sure, if more folks could add their stories, we could publish a great book. 

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