20 Facts About Waverly Hills Sanatorium

#1 – There’s a Video of the Hospital While In Use

During the 1930s, a short film illustrating the “revolutionary” new medical treatments at several tuberculosis hospitals featured Waverly Hills Sanatorium; it is one of the few films of the hospital actually in use. The title is On the Front Lines.

#2 – Major Thomas H. Hays’ School

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

#3 – The Origin of the Name

Lizzie Lee Harris, the teacher that Mr. Hays hired, was a fan of Walter Scott’s Waverley novels, which prompted her to name the schoolhouse Waverley School. Mr. Hays liked the peacefulness of the name, dubbing his own property Waverley Hill. When the Board of Tuberculosis Hospitals bought the land, they kept the name, though they changed the spelling to “Waverly Hills” for unknown reasons.

#4 – Opening Capacity

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 the disease.

#5 – Remodeling

Initially, the hospital was a two-story wood building. Eventually, it was granted $25,000 in funding, allowing Waverly Hills to rebuild in order to accommodate for cases of pulmonary tuberculosis. During the remodeling period, which started on August 31st, 1912, all of the patients were relocated to tents outside.

#6 – Children’s Pavilion

The children’s pavilion caused more issues than solutions, as it housed not only sick children but also the healthy children of the current TB patients at the hospital.

#9 – New Capacity

By 1924, the sanatorium could hold four hundred patients.

#8 – The Hospital’s Downfall

The downfall of Waverly Hills Sanatorium began in 1943 once streptomycin (a tuberculosis vaccine) came into the picture, as it greatly reduced the number of cases.

#9 – Patient Relocation

When the hospital began its shutdown, all of the remaining patients were transferred to the Hazelwood Sanatorium, also located in Louisville.

#10 – Woodhaven Geriatric Center

Waverly Hills closed for good in June 1961. In 1962, it reopened as Woodhaven Geriatric Center, a nursing home for aging patients with dementia, mobility issues, and mental disabilities. The center closed down only 20 years later due to patient negligence.

#11 – Insane Asylum vs. Tuberculosis Hospital

Waverly Hills Sanatorium is often mistaken for an insane asylum and incorrectly called “Waverly Hills Sanitarium.” The top floor did house mentally and developmentally challenged patients, though.

#12 – The Cadaver Chute

One of the most notorious parts of Waverly Hills is its death tunnel, which was used to transport deceased patients to a hearse below. The chute was implemented in order to keep patient morale up.

#13 – The Nurse’s Suicide

An unmarried pregnant nurse contracted tuberculosis while working at the hospital. She hung herself with a light bulb wire in Room #502. She is one of the more famous resident spirits haunting the hospital.

#14 – Death Rate

Urban legend says that Waverly Hills Sanatorium had a death rate of 100,000. The actual number is believed to be 8,212.

#15 – Television

The sanatorium has been featured in at least fifteen different TV shows, though the number is likely much higher.

#16 – Hotel

During the early 2010s, it was rumored that a section of the hospital would become a hotel.

#17 – Evidence

There are countless videos proving just how haunted the hospital is.

#18 – Most Ghosts

While not an actual world record, Waverly Hills Sanatorium is widely considered the most haunted location in the world.

#19 – Tour Profits

The money made from tours is put towards renovating and restoring the hospital to keep it in a safe condition.

#20 – Tuberculosis Treatments

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

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