Louisville, KY

The History behind the Waverly Hills Sanitarium.

Rooted Expeditions

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Waverly Hills SanitariumTravel Channel

Things you probably didn't KNOW about the Waverly Hills Sanitarium.

Today, we are going to look at one of the most creepiest locations in America that you should never explore alone - the Waverly Hills Sanitorium. There are many secrets and history behind the doors of this building. Leaving it one of the most notorious and creepiest Sanitariums in America - having said to have over 50,000 deaths.

We are going to shed some light on some of the history that this place holds and the things that this place could have been which would of changed the structure itself and possibly the history. Ok let's get started.

The land that Waverly Hills Sanitorium presently sits on is located in Louisville, Kentucky and was purchased in 1883 by Major Thomas H. Hays. The Hays family would build their new home on this land on top of the hill and start a new life. Since their new home was so far away from any other school that their daughter could attend, Mr. Hays decided to build a one room school, so his daughter could attend. Mr. Hays would hire Lizzie Lee Harris as the teacher of this new one room schoolhouse. It was like those old school houses you see in movies.

Lizzie enjoyed Walter Scott's Waverley Novels so much that she would end up naming the school Waverley School. Mr. Hays enjoyed the name so much that he ended up naming his property Waverley Hill.

Later on, the property would be sold and bought by the Board of Tuberculosis Hospital. They would end up keeping the name and naming the new sanatorium they built Waverly Hills Santorum.

It was said that in the early 1900's Kentucky's hospitals were overloaded and very hard to manage as tuberculosis was such a problem, killing 100's of thousands of people. By the end of the 1800s, 25% of all deaths in America came from Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis was an airborne, bacterial disease that ate away at a patient's lung tissue until it pretty much killed them.

Waverly Hills Sanitorium was built during these events. Originally opening its doors in 1910, it was a two story wooden structure which had about 50 beds housing patients. It would quickly be expanded and become over crowded. They would end up building a 5 story concrete and brick structure in 1926 with 400 beds which again would continue to be filled with patients.

Because of this highly contagious disease, extreme measures were taken in order to quarantine patients and staff - separating itself from the outside world.

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24th January 1933: Whatever the weather, they spend their days lying on iron bedsteads in the open air, as a 'curative' measure.Travel Channel

Waverly Hills was such a self-sufficient facility that they had their own animals and would produce their own food. They also had a functioning post office.

This building had a 537 foot long tunnel that would start from the first floor of the building and would go all the way to the bottom of the hill to the Dixie Highway. This tunnel was designed for the very purpose of transporting the dead bodies out of the building and away from patients seeing the dead bodies being carried out. They knew that seeing all the dead bodies being carried out almost daily would impact the morale and state of mind of their patients.

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The long tunnel that they would use to transport the bodies without being noticed by the patients.Trip Advisor

Before there were vaccines to treat tuberculosis, patients would on many occasions be treated outside as many thought that the fresh air would help the patients. Which in away it kind of did, but would not be effective enough to save their lives. They would even do this during the freezing temps and even in the snow. Patients would spend most of their days in iron beds trying to catch whatever breath they could to stay alive.

Now when the Vaccines were introduced, the amount of patients that were infected would start to drop drastically. So much, in fact, that the Sanitorium would close its doors in 1961.

The pain and suffering that affected so many people here seemed to leave a stain on the walls of this place. Many say that as you walk into the doors of this location you can feel the dread that something just didn’t feel right. That you could feel that something so awful and horrible happened here leaving a bad presence. And well, in truth, it did.

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Inside the Waverly Hills SanitariumTravel Channel

In 1983, the hospital was bought for about $3,000,000 by a man named J. Clifford Todd who was a developer. He bought the building with the intentions of converting it to a minimum-security prison for the state. But the plan would quickly be dropped as neighbors in the area protested this idea as they didn’t want a prison in their neighborhood.

Then in 1996, Robert Alberhasky bought Waverly Hills. Robert was part of a religious group. He had made plans to construct the world's tallest statue of Jesus on this location, along with an arts and worship center. This idea was inspired by the famous Christ the Redeemer statue which sits on Corcovado Mountain in Rio De Janeiro.

The cost would be about $4,000,000 to build, but a year later, the plan would fall apart and be canceled as they would only raise $3,000.

Today, Waverly Hills Sanitorium is owned by private investors who opened this historical building up to urban explorers and paranormal enthusiast to explore and tour. You can walk the long and dark hallways of this building exploring the 100's of rooms. Not knowing what you will find around each corner. Would you explore this massive place alone and in the dark? Let me know your thoughts below.

Here is a little bit of history for you. Peace I love you and as always God bless.

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Waverly Hills Sanitarium 1938Courier Journal

Primary Sources:

1. Travel Channel

2. Wikipedia

3. Backyard Exploration

4.David Robillard

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If you're a fan of the abandoned, historical, and strange events and locations, then you're in the right place. I post videos and articles like what you see here every week. You can stay up to date on all my current content and updates on my YouTube channel. Link in bio.

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