Pewee Valley Sanitarium & Hospital

Pewee Valley Sanitarium & Hospital
Started in the Pewee Valley Farm House of Dr. Augustus W. Kaye

 Site of Jennie Casseday’s Rest Cottage for Working Women in 1895
Where Pioneer Woman Photographer Kate Mathews Died
Where Hallie Burge Jacobs, Annie Fellows Johnston’s Niece by Marriage, Died
Where Mary G. Johnston, Annie Fellows Johnston’s Stepdaughter, Died

Post Card of the Pewee Valley Sanitarium & Hospital

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.

Dr. Kaye married his wife, Virginia L. Nock, on October 23, 1856 in Jefferson County. In 1860, they were living in Louisville Ward 4 and already had two children: Arthur, age 2 and Jane, age 1. By 1870, the Kayes were living in the Rollington District of Oldham County (see the Beers & Langan map) and by 1890, the family had grown to 10, with the addition of six more children: Robert, Irene, William, Walter, Frank and John. Dr. Kaye died in 1893 and two years later in 1895, according to documents residing at The Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Ky., the farm was rented for the summer by the Board of Managers for Jennie Casseday’s Rest Cottage for Working Woman, an inexpensive place for working women to take a much-needed vacation in the country. 

By the 1900 census, Dr. Kaye’s oldest son, Arthur, was living on the farm with his wife, Harriet (Daviess) and two daughters, Corrine, age 9, and Virginia, who was just a year old. By 1910, Arthur and Hattie had moved to Louisville and had a third child, a son, Clarke.  

Virginia Kaye, seated on the lap of Rebecca Porter (Mom Beck in the “Little Colonel” stories) played the part of Little Colonel Lloyd Sherman in this official “Little Colonel Series”  photo taken by Kate Matthews.

Ma Beck with Virginia Kaye

The Kayes are buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, Section 5, Lot 271. Dr. Augustus Kaye was buried in 1893, his son Arthur in 1925, Arthur’s wife Harriet Daviess Kaye in 1952, and Arthur and Hattie’s three children: Corrinne Kaye Crawford in 1947, Clarke in 1987 and Virginia Kaye Norman in 1994. 

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.

Originally the Kaye home, this log cabin became the Pewee Valley Sanitarium & Hospital in 1925, after the Seventh Day Adventists purchased the 50-acre farm the previous year.

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.”

Pewee Valley Hospital Administrators 1925-1975 

J.T. Wheeler                             1925-1943

L.A. Butterfield                         1943-1945

A.A. Davis                               1945-1952

P.C. Dysinger                           1952-1957

Charles P. Harris, Jr.                1955-1964 (1955-61 as associate administrator)

Paul C. Dysinger                       1964-1968

John Bullock                             1964-1968 (associate administrator 2 years)

Bob Walper, Assc. Admin.       1968-1970

Joe Butterfield                          1970-1974

Dr. John Leland                        1974-1975 (acting administrator)

Friendship Manor Nursing Home continues to operate on the property today

The Campbell family seated outside the Pewee Valley Sanitarium & Hospital.
From left to right, on the bench: Don, Geneva and Leon. On the ground, Ray Campbell.

Thanks to Don Campbell, administrator of Friendship Manor Nursing Home,  for supplying the post card, photo of the Campbell family and “History of the Pewee Valley Church of the Seventh-Day Adventists”

page by Donna Russell