20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About: Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Waverly Hills Sanatorium

If you love Waverly Hills Sanatorium as much as we do, you’ll love these twenty amazing facts.

1. During the 1930s, a video demonstrating the “revolutionary” new medical treatments for tuberculosis was made at Waverly Hills Sanatorium. The video featured other TB hospitals. It is one of the few films of WHS actually in use.

2. In 1883, the plot of land that Waverly Hills currently sits on was bought by Major Thomas H. Hays and he built the family home there. Since the home was too far from any sort of school, Hays opened one on the land so his daughters could learn there.

3. The teacher Mr. Hays hired, Lizzie Lee Harris, was a fan of Walter Scott’s Waverley novels. Because of this, she entitled it Waverley School. Mr. Hays liked the peacefulness of the name, and he named the property Waverley Hill. When the Board of Tuberculosis Hospitals bought the land, they kept the name. However, they changed the spelling to “Waverly Hills” for unknown reasons.

4. When Waverly Hills Sanatorium opened in 1910, it had a capacity of 40 to 50 patients. During this time, a majority of the Louisville population had been infected with TB.

5. Initially, WHS was a two-story wood building. It was granted $25,000 in funding, allowing them to rebuild so they could take care of cases of pulmonary tuberculosis. During the remodeling period (which started August 31st, 1912), all of the patients were relocated into tents outside.

6. The children’s pavilion caused more issues than solutions – the healthy children of patients with TB currently staying at the hospital were housed with sick children.

7. By 1924, the sanatorium could hold four hundred patients.

8. The downfall of Waverly Halls Sanatorium began in 1943 when the TB vaccine known as streptomycin reduced the number of tuberculosis cases.

9. When the hospital began its shutdown, all of the remaining patients were sent to Hazelwood Sanatorium in Louisville.

10. WHS closed for good in June, 1961. It reopened as Woodhaven Geriatric Center in 1962, a nursing home for aging patients with dementia, mobility issues, and mental disabilities. In 1982, the center closed to patient negligence.

11. About 1/3 of those interested in Waverly Hills Sanatorium mistake it for an insane asylum, and call it “Waverly Hills Sanitarium”.

12. One of the most notorious parts of Waverly Hills Sanatorium is the “death tunnel”, which was used to transport dead patients to a hearse below. It was used in order to keep patient moral up.

13. When a pregnant, un-married nurse contracted TB, she hung herself with a lightbulb wire in Room #502.

14. Urban legend says that WHS had a death rate of 100,000 – the actual number is believed to be 8,212.

15. The sanatorium has been featured in nearly 15 different TV shows. The number may be higher.

16. It is rumored that a section of the hospital will become a hotel.

17. Numerous videos have been made that prove that WHS is haunted.

18. Waverly Hills Sanatorium has been dubbed the “most haunted location in the world”. However, it is not a world record, as it is hard to determine how a location is actually the most haunted.

19. The money made from tours is put to renovating/restoring the hospital in order to keep it in safe condition.

20. Some of the tuberculosis treatments that took place at the hospital includes rib removal, compressing the lungs with sandbags, removal of the lungs, and several other grisly treatments.


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