Pewee Valley Sanitarium

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Pewee Valley Sanitarium
Opened 1925
Closed 1975
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Pewee Valley, KY
Alternate Names
  • Friendship Manor Nursing Home


The Pewee Valley Sanitarium and Hospital traces its origins to 1919, when some Seventh Day Adventist nurses, trained at the Madison College and Sanitarium, established a small treatment center in Louisville. In 1924, the group, headed up by Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Wheeler, purchased a 50-acre farm in Pewee Valley, once owned by Dr. Augustus W. Kaye. When the Seventh Day Adventists bought the Kaye farm, it included a large, two-story log cabin that was about 100 years old, two tenant houses and a barn. Conditions on the farm were primitive. The cabin had no electric lights and was heated by coal stoves. It was subsequently remodeled to include six patient rooms, treatment rooms and a small operating room. In the fall of 1925, the first patient was admitted and the Pewee Valley Sanitarium & Hospital officially opened its doors. The hospital first specialized in diet, water treatments and service. ​In 1934, when the Kentucky Confederate Home closed its doors, the five remaining veterans were transferred to the Pewee Valley Sanitarium, which received an annual $800 allowance from the state to care for them.

By 1940, the hospital had 40 beds and 22 student nurses in training. In 1950, it was a member of both the American Hospital and Kentucky Hospital associations and had 17 physicians on staff, as well as a chaplain. Twenty-six more beds were added in 1956. In May 1969, Friendship Manor Nursing Home opened on the property.

However, the little hospital, where pioneer female photographer Miss Kate Matthews died on July 5, 1956, Hallie Burge Jacobs died on August 7, 1964, and Miss Mary Gardner Johnston died on July 16, 1966, was not able to compete with the much larger hospitals in Louisville, according to the “History of the Pewee Valley Church of Seventh Day Adventists:

"... Health care was becoming big business and more complicated in their operations. Smaller hospitals found it more and more difficult to compete with larger institutions, with their newer and more expensive and sophisticated equipment and facilities, together with their expanding staffs of specialty-trained physicians and other medical personnel, now within easy access…On March 15, (1975), the struggling little Pewee Valley Hospital, founded and nourished with so much “blood, sweat and tears” was forced to close its doors.”