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Monday, September 16, 2019

Northern Michigan Asylum

One of the things we were looking forward to was touring the Traverse City Mental Hospital,  It was built as the Northern Michigan Insane Asylum in 1895.  It was built with the premise that beauty is healing, so the building was gorgeous, there was a greenhouse that provided fresh flowers, there were gardens, a farm that provided fresh fruits and vegetables year round and it was known for it's ethical care.  However, in that time, up till around 1950, people were admitted for many things.  If a woman's husband filed a complaint about her being crabby she could be admitted.  People were admitted with actual health issues, like TB, parkinsons, dementia...  It closed in 1980 as mental health care changed.  The buildings sat empty and deteriorating and were going to be knocked down until a citizens group took control.  They are now being renovated.  The largest building is now filled with stores, restaurants, condo's and offices.  Another building is being renovated to be a hotel, another is going to be an assisted living center.
We went for a 2 hour tour and great enjoyed it!


This place is supposed to be haunted so we thought it was pretty funny that Bob got #13 for the tour!



 This is a photo that was taken when it was nearing completion in 1895.



Here's a shot I took on the front lawn.  There are so many trees and it's so big that you can't get the whole thing in one photo.


 This statue is near the back entry.  It's titled Rain Man.



 There are beautiful spires all across the building. They are part of the ventilation system.













 This is the building that is going to be a hotel.  It needs lots of work!  The windows here aren't actually windows - they are printed canvas covering the openings.






 This was a patient room.



 This was a dining room.


 I didn't take this photo or the next one, but it shows a little more of the condition of the building.








These tunnels run all over the property, connecting buildings to each other, to areas of the farm, to maintenance areas.  At the end of the tour, we got to walk through one of them.  We were told that sometimes there were bats in them, but we didn't see a thing!


This is one of the main halls that has been renovated.  It was such fun walking, eating and shopping here after the tour.
We both really enjoyed this.  The architecture, the stories and the history were so very interesting!

16 comments:

Joyful said...

What a huge structure. I'm glad it is now being put to good use.

Jean said...

It was so interesting to read the back story of this place! How very beautiful and majestic and interesting! I’m really glad the buildings are being restored.

Ramblings of a Retired Lady said...

How interesting and so glad they arent tearing it down. It is a beautiful bldg.

Arlene @Nanaland said...

It is a lovely building but as a nurse it pains me to think of all the people who were there unjustly. We have a similar hospital in Tuscaloosa. They used to do a haunted house there at Halloween. Hope you and Bob did not see any ghosts!:)

Terri D said...

I am always so happy when building are saved and this one is sure worthy of saving. How pretty and very interesting!

Michelle said...

Nice to see it being taken care of. This is the type of place I like to visit.

Connie said...

It would be a true shame to destroy a building (group of building) as beautiful as these. Thanks for including us in your tour, very interesting :)

Dianna said...

We have a place quite similar to this here in WV...not that far away from us, actually. Your comment about the place you toured supposed to be haunted reminded of this place not far from us. I don't even remember the name of the person who bought it, but she promotes it by using that same line. The month of October she does haunted house tours through it. Love that picture of Bob showing his lucky number. :)

Miss Dishywoo said...

What an interesting place. I would have loved to go on that tour. The building is enormous! It's great that it's being renovated. Thanks for the story and the pics.

LL Cool Joe said...

That looks fascinating. I can't say I'd enjoy walking through the tunnels very much, with or without bats. When I saw the first photo of Bob and the title of the post I thought you putting your poor husband in an asylum! :D

Hootin' Anni said...

What an incredible tour!! (I think it'd be cool to be #13)

Now, I'm behind & slow this week, so I have some catching up to do....

Laurel Wood said...

Fascinating architecture. I'm so happy they are working to restore the buildings.

Doris said...

That place is huge! What a shame it would have been to those gorgeous buildings destroyed.

Kim said...

Very, very interesting. There is an old psychiatric center near my home that has a similar history. It was set up with the same premise that the country air and farming was healing. Unfortunately, after it closed in the 1980's or early 90's the buildings fell into disrepair and have been destroyed by "visitors"...graffiti and Mother Nature have done a number on it. It too has the reputation of being haunted and the way it looks, I can understand why. The fate of your center is much better...

Laura said...

Looks like such a cool place! I'm so glad it's being renovated instead of just torn down.

Jenny said...

Ooooh I love these kinds of places! In Columbia we had the old Lunatic Asylum on Bull Street. Little by little they're making it into a "city" of sorts. They built a ball park where the Fireflies play baseball. For many years the land it sits on was the largest in-town tract available for sale on the entire eastern seaboard. I nearly got arrested there once. All I was doing was taking pictures, haaahahaha

Anyway how great that you got to tour it and had such a wonderful time. Go Bob ... number thirteen muaaahhhahahaha xoxo