When I think of Waverly Hills, I have two distinct and quite opposing memories. One of sneaking on the property as a teen and exploring in the darkness for ghosts… a vague memory of vicious rottweilers, which may have been imagined due to the shear scariness of going there. It was broken glass windows, shadow play on the sharp angular doorways, whispers on the wind, cool chills that gave way to suspicion of being touched from the otherworldly and all in all… utter fear. I also remember visiting my great grandmother when she was a patient there. Too young to recall why, but later finding out it had also been a nursing home for a bit.
Waverly Hills is an iconic place here in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a tuberculosis sanatorium in the early 1900’s when Louisville had a severe TB outbreak due to the surrounding swampland. The original two story 130 patient occupancy was expanded to five stories and 400 patient occupancy until streptomycin was introduced in the early 1940’s. Waverly Hills sanatorium was finally closed in 1962 and did a short stint as a nursing home until 1982.
The sanatorium sits up on a hill and so there is a tunnel that leads up the steep incline. On one side was stairs for workers to enter and exit safely and the other side was a motor powered cart with rails to bring up supplies. Soon this was used to send bodies down so that the other patients would not see and become demoralized. At the time, the only treatment for tuberculosis was fresh air, heat lamps, positive outlook and keeping up morale. At the height of tuberculosis, a patient was dying once every other day which left a dismal affect on the other patients.
It is well noted among locals and paranormal experts that Waverly Hills Sanatorium is haunted. The latest owners give paranormal tours and have a huge haunted house event on Halloween. Now they have decided to take it a step further and turn it into a hotel. Just a couple of weeks ago they got the zoning committee to endorse the city council to approve the zoning for their hotel.
Waverly Hills will become a four star hotel, convention center and with Kentucky tradition, a liquor bottling business. In case you did not know, there are more barrels of whiskey than people in Kentucky. The plans are to have the first floor converted into a restaurant and a convention center with the second and third floors sporting 120 hotel rooms and the fourth floor housing the museum and meeting rooms. The hotel will continue to be a haven for paranormal investigators and followers.