The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out. ~James Baldwin
My wonderful daughter and son-in-law treated me to a delightful sight-seeing trip. I love history, and we visited the Traverse City State Hospital, now known as The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
The Village is a renovation of the Traverse City State Hospital, also known as the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane and Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Hospital. There are retail shops, eateries, galleries, wineries, residences and professional offices located in the buildings. The farmer’s market atmosphere is lots of fun, and we enjoyed a delicious root beer cookie sample.
Gordon W. Lloyd was the architect of the asylum. He designed the buildings in the Victorian-Italianate style. The asylum, nestled on 63 acres, was established in November of 1885. Among the surviving historic buildings are the original asylum, the cottages, the arboretum and farm buildings. The asylum was a self-sustaining operation.
Patients were provided with a sense of purpose; they were given opportunities to work in farming, furniture construction, fruit and flower farming, and other trades. Straight jackets were not allowed. The asylum even produced its own electricity and heat. Not only the mentally ill were treated at the asylum, but the sick, the elderly, and drug addicts as well.
Changes in mental health care, institutionalization, and cuts in funding forced the closure of the asylum.
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