Historic Structures

Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatarium, Louisville Kentucky

Date added: March 19, 2016 Categories: Kentucky Hospital Gothic Revival

The Waverly Hills complex contains three major buildings. The main structure is a large four story brick and stone building with a curved plan and a square tower above the entrance. There is a three-bay Gothic-arched entrance porch. Near the main building is a two-story, frame structure with half-timber work. There are two sections now joined and this may have been the building erected about 1910-11. Northwest of these buildings is a 2 1/2 story brick building with stone trim. It is a Y-shaped structure, in a Tudor Gothic style. The complex is situated on top of a wooded hill in southwestern Jefferson County.

The Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatarium was established with the appointment of a board of directors in 1906. A tax levied by the City and County enabled the board to build the first sanatarium about 1909-1911. Much of the land making up the site of the sanatarium was acquired in 1908 from Major Thomas H. Hays from whose country estate, "Waverly Hill," the sanatarium took its name. The Major's brick country home no longer exists.

The two-story frame and half-timbered building may be one of the structures erected c.1911. A notice in the American Architect, 21 July 1909, stated that bids would be received by the hospital board for construction of buildings at Waverly Hill. It was signed by J.J. Gaffney, architect. Gaffney was a well-known Louisville architect in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He designed churches, commercial buildings, and residence.

In 1922 the hospital board urged the Louisville General Council and Jefferson County Board of Commissioners to support a bond issue for the construction of new buildings for the sanatarium. Arthur Loomis of Louisville was chosen as architect in 1922 and in 1924 the firm of D.X. Murphy and Bro. was selected to assist in the design and construction of the new buildings. The four-story main building was dedicated in October, 1926 and the 2 1/2 story brick building was evidently completed about 1928. Both Arthur Loomis and D.X. Murphy were outstanding and prolific Louisville architects at the turn of the century.

Control of the Waverly Hills Sanatarium was transferred to Louisville and Jefferson County in 1942 when the Kentucky General Assembly created in each county containing a firstclass City a city-county board of health. In 1960 the Commonwealth of Kentucky assumed the care of tuberculosis patients and those at Waverly Hills were transferred to state institutions. The Kentucky Geriatrics Foundation, a private, non-profit corporation, was formed and the buildings at Waverly Hills were leased in 1962 to house a center to care for elderly residents.