Most Haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky

Waverly Hills

The land that is today known as Waverly Hill was purchased by Major Thomas H. Hays in 1883 as the Hays Family home. Since the new home was now so far away from any existing schools, Mr. Hays decided to open a local school for his daughters to attend. He started a one-room schoolhouse on Pages Lane, and hired Lizzie Lee Harris as the teacher. Miss Harris loved her tiny school nestled against the hillside, and remembered her fondness for Walter Scott’s Waverley novels, so she named her little school house “Waverly School”. Major Hays liked the peaceful-sounding name, so he named his property “Waverly Hill” and the Board of Tuberculosis Hospital kept the name when they bought the land and opened the sanatorium.[6] It is not known exactly when the spelling changed to exclude the second “e” and became Waverly Hills. However the spelling fluctuated between both spellings many times over the years.
Original sanatorium
In the early 20th century, Jefferson County was severely stricken with an outbreak of tuberculosis. There were many tuberculosis cases in Louisville at the time because of all the swampland, which was perfect for the tuberculosis bacteria. To try to contain the disease, a two-story wooden sanatorium was opened which consisted of an administrative/main building and two open air pavilions, each housing 20 patients, for the treatment of “early cases”.
“In the early part of 1911, the city of Louisville began to make preparations to build a new Louisville City Hospital, and the hospital commissioners decided in their plans that there would be no provision made in the new City Hospital for the admission of pulmonary tuberculosis, and the Board of Tuberculosis Hospital was given $25,000 to erect a hospital for the care of advanced cases of pulmonary tuberculosis”. [11]

On 22 Aug 1911, all tuberculosis patients from the City Hospital were relocated to temporary quarters in tents on the grounds of Waverly Hills pending the completion of a hospital for advanced cases.

In December 1912 a hospital for advanced cases opened for the treatment of another 50 patients. And in 1916 a children’s pavilion added another 40 beds[12] making the known “capacity” around 130 patients. This report also mentions that the goal was to add a new building each year to continually grow so there may have even been more beds available than specifically listed. It is a common misconception that the hospital made for 40 was over packed with well over 100 patients, but this is just a miscalculation due to lack of information, with only one major exception which is mentioned above.
Sanatorium expansions
Due to constant need for repairs on the wooden structures, need for a more durable structure, as well as need for more beds so that people wouldn’t be turned away due to lack of space,[14] construction of a five-story building that could hold more than 400 patients began in March 1924. The new building opened on October 17, 1926, but after the introduction of streptomycin in 1943, the number of tuberculosis cases gradually lowered, until there was no longer need for such a large hospital. The remaining patients were sent to Hazelwood Sanatorium, which was also located in Louisville, and Waverly Hills closed in June 1961.
Woodhaven Medical Services
The building was reopened in 1962 as Woodhaven Geriatrics Hospital; Woodhaven was closed in 1981 allegedly due to patient abuse.
The BodyChute
The BodyChute is a misconception, a tunnel used for many things named by passing tourists. Patients of TB were not thrown down the “chute” when dead. It is about 500 feet (150 m) long. The workers used it to get across the hill it was on, and to pass patients through on gerders. There is an air hole every hundred feet to let in light and fresh air.

Source: Wikipedia

First Broadcast : 25th November 2008

 

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