Featured Article Of The Week
Traverse City State Hospital
Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane was established in 1885 as the demand for a third psychiatric hospital, in addition to those established in Kalamazoo and Pontiac, Michigan, began to grow. Lumber baron Perry Hannah, “the father of Traverse City,” used his political influence to secure its location in his hometown. Under the supervision of prominent architect Gordon W. Lloyd, the first building, known as Building 50, was constructed with Victorian-Italianate? style according to the Kirkbride Plan.
Under Dr. James Decker Munson (1848-1929), the first superintendent from 1885 to 1924, the institution expanded. 12 housing cottages and 2 infirmaries were built between 1887 and 1903 to meet the specific needs of more male and female patients. The institution became the city’s largest employer and contributed to its growth.
Before the advent of drug therapy in the 1950s, Dr. Munson was a firm believer in the “beauty is therapy” philosophy. Patients were treated through kindness, comfort, pleasantry, and exposure to the asylum’s great arrangements of flora provided year-round by its own greenhouses and the variety of trees Dr. Munson planted on the grounds. Restraints, such as the straitjacket are forbidden. Also, as part of the “work is therapy” philosophy, the asylum provided opportunities for patients to gain a sense of purpose through farming, furniture construction, fruit canning, and other trades that kept the institution fully self-sufficient. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
In August 1893, Gov. John T. Rich, an Elba Township native, named a committee to decide the location of a state home for the feeble minded
. Lapeer was in the running along with Saginaw, Bay City, Charlotte and Greenville. Lapeer was selected, partly because of the creek running through the property.
Recent Message Board Posts
In this space you normally would see our forum. This had been a hold over from earlier days before we had a Facebook page. Just prior to our server issues regular users had been barely using the forum with the majority of new posts from anonymous users asking genealogy questions or spammers. The old forum software does not work with our new version while the new forum software does not carry over old comments to the new forum. As a result, the forum will be discontinued in favor of our Facebook page. If you have questions or comments you can ask them there.
Asylum Projects Facebook Page
If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.
This 1968 black-and-white documentary about the Plymouth State Home and Training School in Northville, Michigan. Produced by Dan Weisburd, the U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration, narrated by Lorne Greene and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. It was uploaded to Youtube by Northville Tunnels.