An Historical Place, Rich With History…
Waverly Hills Sanatorium sits on land that was originally purchased by Major Thomas H. Hays in 1883. Major Hays was in need of a school for his daughters to attend, so he started a one room school house that was located on Pages Lane. He hired a woman named Lizzie Lee Harris to teach at the school. Her love for the tiny school in addition to her fondness for Scott’s “Waverley Novels”, prompted her to name the little school house, “Waverley School.” Major Hays liked the name, and chose to name his property “Waverley Hill.” The Board of Tuberculosis Hospital kept the name after purchasing the land and opening the Sanatorium.
Originally, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a two-story frame building, with a hipped roof and half timbering. Construction on this building began in 1908, and opened for business on July 26, 1910. The building was designed to safely accommodate 40-50 tuberculosis patients. At the time, tuberculosis was a very serious disease. People who were afflicted with tuberculosis were isolated from the general public and placed in an area where they could rest, stay calm, and have plenty of fresh air. Sanatoriums were built on high hills surrounded by peaceful woods to create a serene atmosphere to help the patients recover.
Tuberculosis was becoming an epidemic in Valley Station, Pleasure Ridge Park, and other parts of Jefferson County in Kentucky. The little TB clinic was filled with more than 140 people, and it was obvious that a much larger hospital was needed to treat those afflicted with the condition.
The massive, collegiate, gothic style Sanatorium that you see in the 1926 photo (left), remains standing on Waverly Hill, today. It could accommodate at least 400 patients and was considered one of the most modern and well equipped facilities at the time. Construction of this Sanatorium began in March 1924 and opened for business on October 17, 1926. The facility served as a tuberculosis hospital until 1961, when the discovery of an antibiotic that successfully treated and cured TB rendered the facility obsolete. It was closed down and quarantined, then renovated. In 1962, the building reopened as WoodHaven Medical Services, a geriatric facility. WoodHaven Medical was closed by the state in 1980.
Click here to learn about treatment and life at Waverly Hills.