Just some views from the exterior of the Traverse City State Hospital
Like many mental institutions from the era, it started with a single Kirkbride building (and a few related service buildings). The north wing was for female clients, and the south wing was for male clients. The grand center wing, unfortunately replaced in the 1960s, housed administration. This Kirkbride still stands and has been known for many years as Building 50. Now known as "The Village", it has recently been saved from threatened demolition (thanks to the Committee to Preserve Building 50 and other concerned citizens), and is undergoing restoration and renovation.
When the Kirkbride plan fell out of favor at the end of the 19th century, several "cottages" were constructed at the state hospital according to the philosophy of the time. The operation included extensive farm operations which were closed in the 1950s. The grave of a world champion milk cow remains on the grounds.
The institution (at the end called a regional psychiatric hospital) closed in 1989 as part of a nationwide trend in de-institutionalization of the mentally ill which had causes including changes in the overall philosophy of treatment, advances in medicine, and government budget concerns.
Currently the Minervini Group, under the direction of the local government is adaptively restoring the complex into a mixed-use facility. While the feel of the original buildings is slowly fading away as the buildings one-by-one are restored for use as shops and condos, many of the small details are being left intact. The Minervini Group is one of a VERY small group of developers that actually seem interested in preserving some of the history, rather than simply knocking the buildings down and building cookie-cutter condos in its place.
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