Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hayswood Hospital and Parker Tobacco Co. (The trip to Maysville, KY.)

I recently met up with good friends Seicer and Tron2.0 for a trip to historic Maysville, Kentucky. Located just down the Ohio River from Cincinnati. We made our trip at the end of November to this quaint and beautiful river town recovering from Thanksgiving and gearing up for Christmas. Maysville has all the charm of the 1950's American boomtown but unlike small river city's such as Hamilton, Ohio, Maysville seems to have managed to keep its charm and economy intact. Among the historic victorian houses of Market St. sits a relic of the towns past; the Hayswood Hospital. The facility was originally built in 1915 and featured two expansions; once in 1925 and another in 1971 where it reached its maximum capacity of 87 patient beds. The hospital closed in 1983 due to lack of room for further expansion and the construction of a more modern facility.

Seen below is the hospitals courtyard. The emergency room entrance and drive way were located on the opposite end of the hospital.

Although the outside and much of the interior resemble an older building and fail to look anything similar to modern medical facilities, the interior's facilities and technology were kept fairly up to date and modern until the hospitals closure in 1983. Seen in the above picture is the typical receptionist area found throughout the hospital. While recently the hospital has been plagued by copper scrappers, a few remnants remain of old computer systems.

In 1971, the hospital was expanded to its largest size where it featured 87 patient rooms that featured plumbing works similar to those featured in the above picture. Nearly each room encountered on our tour of the hospital was identical with the exception of the children's wards and operation rooms.

Built into the hillside, the hospital has a unique layout. This was once the top floor lobby and waiting area which sits adjacent to the bridge that spans the courtyard which is seen below.

Across the bridge and into the other side of the hospital you will find what once was the children's ward.

I have a friend who is a giant,
And he lives where the tall weeds
He's high as a mountain and wide
as a barn,
And I only come up to his toe,
you know,
I only come up to his toe.

Common artwork seen in children's hospitals of that era. The walls also feature paintings of fairy tales, super heroes and Sesame Street characters. Similar art work can be found in the Ridges TB ward/children's hospital and other hospitals abandoned in the same era. The paintings serve as an almost eerie reminder of how frightening it could be to be a child having to stay in a hospital at such a young age compared to the amenities found in modern facilities where children have access to television, electronic video games, wireless internet, and libraries of video programs.

One of the most interesting rooms shown to me by Tron and Seicer during our tour was the two X ray and surgical rooms. In the above picture you can see the wiring and electrical work for one of the two rooms.

A set of lights which would be suspended over a patient during surgery is one of the most interesting features of the hospital that still remains, however the most interesting find on our tour was yet to come...

The hospital featured a small morgue featuring 3 freezers, one body to each freezer. While the trays are missing, the bottom apparatus of the freezers are still able to be rolled out. The freezers remain adjacent to the room where the bodies where prepared and autopsies could be performed.

The above is a wash bin located in the room adjacent to the morgue where the bodies would be prepared and examined. Many people would view this area of the hospital with a stigma and taboo. However the room that had seen the most death in the hospital offered the best view into the bustling life of downtown Maysville.

After our tour of the hospital it was time to go see the Parker Tobacco Company which had been abandoned since operations ceased and bankruptcy was filed in 1996. Unfortunately a fire in May of 2007 destroyed a great deal of the facility and not much can be seen. For a more in depth historical article and photograph feature please visit Seicer's write up at his Abandoned Online site.

The Parker Tobacco Co. was once a staple of economic development in Maysville. It opened in 1932 and at one point became one of the largest exporters of Tobacco leaves to Europe and South American with major operations in Brazil. The facility in Maysville featured a uniquely constructed shipping and receiving dock that featured space for rail cars and automobiles in the same area. Seen here is the overgrown train tressel that once back up into the shipping and receiving area.

By 1959 business was going so well for Parker that it outgrew its Maysville facilities and purchased the neighboring facilities of competitor R.J. Reynolds who had moved their headquarters to Lexington. The smoke stack seen in the pictures is still adorned in brick with the words: "R.J. Reynolds".

10 years later the Tobacco business had grown so much due to the worldwide demand for cigarettes that the Parker company expanded over seas by purchasing a 23 percent stake in Brazilian company: Exportadora Catarinense de Ltda (EXCA). Parker was at the height over its Tobacco production reign.

Parker's facilities were abandoned in 1996. Seen here is a ford truck left by the company. Parker attempted to expand in 1974 into other business ventures to boost revenue during the off season but ultimately fell in the mid 90's.

On May 22nd, 2007 a fire, the cause of which is still under investigation, ripped through the form Parker property. Today the building remains in the heart of downtown Maysville.

For more historical information and photographs from Seicer and Tron2.0 please visit Abandoned Online.

Update | Sept. 7, 2017:
  • It's my understanding that the Parker Tobacco Company has now been completely demolished. I believe the hospital is still standing, but is slated for demolition as soon as funds and plan become available. The property is apparently in really poor shape now and constantly visited by "ghost hunters" who need to be chased back to their mom's basement in search of the paranormal.


  1. Wow-great pics. I am surprised at how decrepit the hospital is. I guess a building can deteriorate quickly without heat, air, etc.

  2. whoa... nice pics ... did u see anything unusual there ? like ghosts ? lol.... cool tour though

  3. Discovered your site a few days ago. Been going through, post by post.
    Was very happy to see this one on my home town.

    My mother and a few others I know where born in hayswood. They keep talking about turning it into apartments or tearing it down.
    Neither seems to be an option now. The city's engineers are pretty sure it's helping keep the homes on the hillside above it in place.

    If you ever make it back, there are plenty of other cool buildings to explore.


  4. Really enjoyed your pictures and stories. I was born in Hayswood Hospital, so sad to see it in the shape it is in now.