What was the date of Waverly Hills’ closure?

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By Lucas Reynolds

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, located in Louisville, Kentucky, was once the largest tuberculosis hospital in the United States. The sanatorium operated for almost 50 years, treating thousands of patients suffering from the highly contagious disease. Despite its reputation for innovative treatments and state-of-the-art facilities, Waverly Hills was eventually forced to close its doors due to legal issues.

Brief history of Waverly Hills

Waverly Hills was built in 1910 to treat patients suffering from tuberculosis, a disease that was rampant in the early 20th century. The sanatorium was designed to be self-sufficient, with its own power plant, water treatment facility, and even a farm to provide fresh produce for patients. Over the years, the sanatorium grew in size, with new buildings and equipment being added to keep up with the demand for treatment.

The rise of tuberculosis

Tuberculosis, or TB, was a highly contagious disease that ravaged the United States in the early 20th century. At its peak, TB was responsible for one in every eight deaths in the country. The disease was spread through the air, making it easy for it to infect large groups of people in close quarters. The only effective treatment at the time was rest and fresh air, which led to the creation of sanatoriums like Waverly Hills.

Waverly Hills during the peak of tuberculosis

During the height of the tuberculosis epidemic, Waverly Hills was home to over 400 patients at a time. The sanatorium was known for its innovative treatments, including the "Sun Treatment," where patients were exposed to sunlight for hours each day, and the "Fresno Treatment," which involved removing a portion of a patient’s lung to stop the spread of the disease. Despite the severity of the disease, the patients at Waverly Hills were known for their upbeat attitudes and camaraderie.

Post-tuberculosis era

As medical treatments for tuberculosis improved, the need for sanatoriums like Waverly Hills decreased. By the 1960s, the sanatorium had been repurposed as a nursing home, and later as a geriatric hospital. However, the building fell into disrepair, and by the 1980s, it was abandoned.

Efforts to repurpose the sanatorium

In the 1990s, there were several attempts to repurpose the sanatorium, including plans to turn it into a minimum-security jail and a medicine rehabilitation center. However, these plans were met with opposition from the community, who feared the building’s dark history. Eventually, the sanatorium was sold to a private owner who planned to turn it into a hotel and tourist attraction.

Waverly Hills’ final days

Despite its new owner’s plans, Waverly Hills was forced to close in 2001 due to legal issues. The owner had failed to pay property taxes, and the building was sold at a tax sale. The new owner, a developer from Ohio, had grand plans to turn the sanatorium into condominiums, but the project never materialized.

Waverly Hills’ closure was the result of a series of legal troubles that plagued the building for years. In addition to the unpaid property taxes, the building was also the subject of a lawsuit filed by a former owner who claimed that he was cheated out of his share of the profits from the building’s sale. The legal battles took a toll on the building, which was left vacant and slowly deteriorating.

The aftermath of Waverly Hills’ closure

After Waverly Hills closed, the building fell into disrepair, and it became a popular destination for urban explorers and ghost hunters. The building’s dark history and eerie appearance made it an ideal setting for ghost stories and paranormal investigations. Over the years, the building has been featured in several television shows and movies, cementing its place as one of the most haunted places in the United States.

Preservation efforts and ghost stories

In recent years, there have been efforts to preserve Waverly Hills and turn it into a museum and educational center. The building’s new owners have worked to restore the sanatorium to its former glory, and the site is now open for tours and events. However, the building’s reputation as a haunted hotspot has not diminished, and ghost stories and paranormal sightings continue to be reported by visitors and staff.

Conclusion

Waverly Hills Sanatorium was once a cutting-edge medical facility that saved countless lives during the tuberculosis epidemic. Despite its storied history, the building’s closure and subsequent legal battles left it in disrepair. However, efforts to preserve the building and its legacy have given it a new lease on life, and it remains a fascinating and haunting reminder of a dark chapter in American history.

References

  1. "Waverly Hills Sanatorium." Louisville Ghost Tours. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.louisvilleghosttours.com/waverly-hills-sanatorium/.

  2. "Waverly Hills Sanatorium." Atlas Obscura. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/waverly-hills-sanatorium.

  3. "Waverly Hills Sanatorium." HistoricHospitals.org. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://historichospitals.org/gazetteer/kentucky/waverly-hills-sanatorium/.

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Lucas Reynolds

Lucas Reynolds, the mastermind behind TravelAsker's compelling content, originates from the charming Sedona, Arizona. A genuine local, he shares deep insights into the region, unveiling its enchanting attractions, tranquil resorts, welcoming accommodations, diverse dining options, and engaging pastimes. Lucas invites readers to explore captivating experiences within the stunning landscapes of Sedona and beyond, ensuring unforgettable adventures.

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