Into the Woods

Author Axle - Last updated: 24.05.2013

It was the first of its kind in Kentucky, built in 1907 under the direction of the Kentucky Anti-Tuberculosis Association headed by local citizen William Carrier Nones, the Hazelwood Sanatorium could house 34 patients. Located in the southern area of Louisville, the small hospital was funded mostly by private donations and philanthropic gestures, this proved to be a problem in 1914 when fire destroyed the original hospital. But in 1915 the new (and current) structure was built with an expanded capacity of 150 beds. This was again expanded in 1943 bringing the total up to 250 beds. Hazelwood worked closely with the larger Waverly Hill Sanatorium accepting the more chronic cases of TB into the smaller hospital. Hazelwood was also the first in 1951 to treat both black and white patients. When Waverly Hill closed in 1961 Hazelwood was forced to expand, several new buildings where constructed on the site to augment the original 1915 building. With inpatient treatment of TB no longer needed the hospital was converted to server the mentally handicapped community in 1971. The final purpose of the 1915 hospital was to house children, closure date is unknown but if the photos found inside are any indication, probably in the late 1970s early 1980s. The building still stands, overgrown, on the still active Hazelwood Centre.

We were of course still on a high from the Cooperage, and heading off to the second location of the day, most of the Atlanta crew had split off from us to try their hand at Massovum (a large egg shaped drain), but the SC crew joined mine and we were joined in by two from Ohio. Since the site is on active property we quickly staggered our entrance, trying to avoid the watchful eye of onsite cameras near the new hospital building located high on a hill.





The sun still shining high in the sky, the light inside was going to be amazing, that night semi-filtered through the trees mid-afternoon light that I always love the shoot in. The entry was far too easy, open gate, open door. We soon spread out.





We had one small scare that someone was paying too much attention to the front gate which caused a small panic in the group but it turned out to be nothing major. We were of course on an active property, so someone might have popped by to check out the second gate (which was still securely locked). Some of the group decided to split to give the rest of the group a chance to stagger the exits as well.





Feeling good about the interiors, I loaded up my Pentax 645 with some Tri-X pan, it’s easier to explain you’re a fine art photographer with a film camera, plus, if they don’t see a digital camera, they won’t know you have one






Sadly, I didn’t realize that my foresight was about to save my bacon. Just as I’m about to step off the property (I was a meter inside) an SUV pulls up next to me and the gentleman inside states I’m on state property (I never saw any signs), and that it was illegal to take photos and that I need to delete them now. I simply explain that it’s film, and hold up my sole roll of Tri-X, not sealed yet. He really didn’t care and that he could just call the police. My mind worked quickly, if he called the cops, there’s a good chance I’d be tangled in the US Justice System, in county lockup, leaving my crew behind, was it really worth 15 images? Simple answer…even if he was outside his rights to demand this…no, it wasn’t worth it. I burned the film, and handing the now useless piece of plastic over to the man, who let me leave without trouble, and without taking my name.



Getting back to my car, I talked with the group that had just arrived, warning them off, then got in contact with the group still inside the damn the maneuvers and get out. Thankfully the rest got out without trouble.

Nikon D300 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G


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