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 Waverly Hills Sanatorium (From Wikipedia)

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PostSubject: Waverly Hills Sanatorium (From Wikipedia)   Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:43 pm

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, located in southwestern Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky, opened in 1910 as a two-story hospital to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients. It has been popularized on television as being one of the "most haunted" hospitals in the eastern United States, and was seen on ABC/FOX Family Channel's Scariest Places On Earth as well as VH1's Celebrity Paranormal Project. It was also seen on the Sci Fi Channel's Ghost Hunters and featured in an episode of the 11th series of the British TV show Most Haunted.

The current plan for the sanatorium is to turn it into a hotel that will cater to the haunted hotel crowd as well regular hotel patrons.

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 "Waverley School". Major Hays liked the peaceful-sounding name, so he named his property "Waverley Hill" and the Board of Tuberculosis Hospital kept the name when they bought the land and opened the sanatorium. 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".

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 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.

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, 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 1962.

Woodhaven Medical Services
The building was reopened in 1962 as Woodhaven Geriatrics Hospital; Woodhaven was closed in 1981 allegedly due to patient abuse. Urban myths say that during this time patients were treated for mental problems and the term "insane asylum" and other similar terms have been used to describe the hospital during those years.

A tunnel was constructed at the same time as the main building beginning on the first floor and traveling 500 feet (150 m) to the bottom of the hill. One side had steps to allow workers to enter and exit the hospital without having to traverse a dangerous and in some places, steep, hill. The other side had a set of rails and a cart powered by a motorized cable system so that supplies could easily be transported to the top. Air ducts leading from the roof of the tunnel to above ground level were incorporated every hundred feet to let in light and fresh air. Since there was no cure yet, treatment mainly consisted of heat lamps, fresh air, high spirits, and reassurances of an eventual quick and full recovery. The sight of the dead being hauled away in full view of patients caused their morale to plummet, causing them to lose hope and become depressed, further contributing to their deaths. Therefore, the tunnel was given another use: when patients died, the bodies were placed on the cart and lowered to the bottom where they were placed on a nearby railroad line to be taken away discreetly, the entire process taking place out of view of patients and saving morale.

"Simpsonville developer J. Clifford Todd bought the old hospital in 1983 for $305,000. He and architect Milton Thompson wanted to convert it into a minimum-security prison for the state, but the developers dropped the plan after neighbors protested. Todd and Thompson then proposed converting the hospital into apartments, but they counted on Jefferson Fiscal Court to buy around 140 acres (0.57 km2) from them for $400,000, giving them the money to start the project."

In March 1996, Robert Alberhasky bought Waverly Hills and the surrounding area. Alberhasky's Christ the Redeemer Foundation Inc. had plans to construct the world's tallest statue of Jesus on the Waverly site, along with an arts and worship center. The statue, which was inspired by the famed Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, would have been designed by local sculptor Ed Hamilton and architect Jasper Ward.

The first phase of the development, coming in at a cost of $4,000,000, would have been a statue of 150 feet (46 m) tall and 150 feet (46 m) wide, situated on the roof of the sanatorium. The second phase would convert the old sanatorium into a chapel, theater, and a gift shop at a cost of $8,000,000 or more.

The plan to construct this religious icon fell through because donations to the project fell well short of expectations. In a period of a year, only $3,000 was raised towards the effort despite efforts to pool money from across the nation. The project was cancelled in December 1997.

As a result, Alberhasky abandoned the Waverly Hills property. In order to recoup some of his costs, Alberhasky attempted to have the property condemned so that it could be torn down and redeveloped. That notion was denied by the county, and James Melvin then attempted to undermine the structural foundations of Francesca by bulldozing around the southern perimeter in order to receive insurance money.

After Alberhasky's efforts failed, Waverly Hills was sold to Tina and Charlie Mattingly in 2001. The Mattinglys hold tours of Waverly Hills and host a haunted house attraction each Halloween, with proceeds going toward restoration of the property.

Private property
The building and surrounding property are now private property with multiple security measures. "No Trespassing" signs are posted throughout the property. Security cameras are installed in various spots on the property, including the exterior and interior of the building. Further, volunteer security guards watch the site around the clock.

Since December 2008, Plans have been made to turn the building into a four star hotel and restore the fourth floor to its original condition.

Much of the following information comes from a hand drawn map and accompanying pages of building descriptions that were obtained from the Waverly Herald. The exact date is not on the pages that were acquired however it is estimated that it was from the May 1953 issue.

Originally the home of the Hayes family, this building was already standing when the land was purchased in 1908. It was used by the sanatorium as a nurses dorm, and later as staff housing. It was eventually destroyed by fire.
On The Above Map

Original sanatorium
The original wooden structure, opened in 26 July 1910, was an administrative building which contained offices, treatment rooms, and a kitchen. It was torn down due to its poor condition.

Pavilion buildings
The wooden pavilion buildings were built at various times in the operation of the sanatorium. The first two were standing in 1910 when the original sanatorium opened. One housed 20-25 male patients, the other 20-25 female patients. Later, with the construction of the new Main building, the southernmost pavilion building was moved to the parking lot to make room for the north wing. This building was used as housing for male staff members.
See numbers 3 & 11 on the above maps. Also see 2,12,13 for additional pavilion type buildings on the property.

Hospital for advanced cases
This two story structure opened December 18, 1912 and was designed to care for 50 advanced cases of pulmonary tuberculosis.
Later, with the opening of the Main building, this building became the "Colored Hospital", and later still was used as staff housing.
See No.21 on the above map

Main building
October 20, 1926, was the official opening ceremony and dedication of the new building. This state of the art building is one of the few buildings still standing on the land.

Completed in 1926, this inclined corridor was first constructed for workers to be able to move supplies in and out of the building from the railroad spur at the bottom of the hill. One side of the tunnel consists of concrete steps while the other is made up of a motorized rail and cable system. At some point it was decided that the tunnel could also be used to discreetly transport bodies off of the hill without other patients witnessing it, thereby protecting their morale. The bodies of the dead were placed on a cart and then lowered to the bottom.

Room 502
An episode of the Sci-Fi Channel television show Ghost Hunters featured the cast's investigation of Waverly Hills, including a local myth about the death of a nurse by murder or suicide in Room 502.

Death rate
Some urban legends claim that "63,000 deaths" occurred at the Sanitorium. According to Assistant Medical Director Dr. J. Frank W. Stewart, the highest number of deaths in a single year at Waverly Hills was 152. Stewart wrote that the worst time for deaths was at the end of the Second World War when troops were returning from overseas with very advanced tuberculosis cases. Some independent researchers have suggested that 162 people died at Waverly Hills in 1945, so the highest total number of deaths possible over 50 years was approximately 8,212.

"Body Chute" or "Death Tunnel"
According to one urban legend, the tunnel was a "body chute" where dead patients were tossed, and a body thrown in would be propelled to the bottom by gravity.

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