In 1885, Michigan opened its third mental institution which was in Traverse City. The institution contained twelve cottages, as well as two infirmaries. The original central administrative building was a hallmark of Victorian-Italiante architecture, but it was sadly demolished in 1963, after it was deemed it a fire hazard.
The twelve smaller cottages, which date from 1885 to 1903, still stand, and have been renovated for different purposes.
Dr. Munson, who headed the Hospital at the time believed in the idea that we should use the “beauty as therapy” method for the mentally ill, so the grounds were covered with trees and flowers. I didn’t get the chance to get images of the grounds, but they are still lovely, with huge trees, gardens, and large open green spaces!
The asylum was completely self-sufficient. The patients worked making furniture, canning fruit, and farming, all to earn funds for the hospital. The hospital produced its own steam to heat and electrify the buildings.
Over time, the space was used to treat other diseases, such as tuberculosis, polio, and, in the mid-late 1980s, as a drug rehabilitation center. But in 1989, the state finally closed the doors of the hospital.
In a twist of fate, the property was purchased by a group of developers, who then renovated the deteriorating buildings to develop it for commercial and residential use. The project was finished in 2010. It now houses hotels, apartments, boutiques, quaint shoppes, an urban winery, coffee roaster, a bakery and more.
While today very different, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons still evokes a time when the mentally ill lived here in a harmony which was rarely found even in the sane world. Quite a beautiful location and series of buildings!
My image here was taken as the sun was beginning to set behind this main building. The clouds were amassing, and the combination of architecture and sky was beautiful.
I decided to take make this image on a slant as to gain more of the sky, get in some of the more important aspects of the building, and to keep unwanted shoppers and visitors out of the frame.
I also processed this in monochrome which really gave it the feel of “Darker Days”. That image can be seen on 500px for those of you who missed it.
So as you see. Today I decided to get away from cars, which I’ve done quite a lot of lately, and give you a bit of architecture and sky drama, as well as a little history.