These pages feature information concerning the former mental hospital grounds now known as Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City, Michigan. Resources include historic information, maps with hyperlinks to photographs of buildings and other features, and news about restoration, new construction, and other projects.
This site is not the "Committee to Preserve Building 50" site. Nor is it not affiliated with the Grand Traverse Commons Redevelopment Corporation or the Michigan Department of Mental Health.
Northern Michigan Asylum first opened on the western edge of Traverse City, Michigan in November, 1885, under the direction of superindentent Dr. James Decker Munson. Later, the name was changed to Traverse City State Hospital (and also Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Hospital). Even more names: "Northern Michigan State Hospital" and "Willow Lake State Hospital" have been seen on postcards. This mental institution was part of Michigan's mental health department, which had other institutions at places including Kalamazoo, Pontiac, Newberry, Northville, Caro, and other cities. The hospital closed in 1989, and during the 1990s it came under the control of local governments, and the major historic and natural features were in danger of destruction.
The future of the majority of the historically significant buildings of the sprawling former mental institution (along with much of the surrounding park-like land) is now secure, thanks to the community efforts of the Committee to Preserve Building 50, the preservation work of the Minervini Group (Building 50, now called The Village), the Grand Traverse Pavilions (the north cottages), and Rolling Centuries and the Grand Traverse Commons Redevelopment Corporation (the historic barns), and the hard work of many others.
Some large buildings from mid-century have already been demolished as part of the current redevelopment plan, but the most significant buildings for the most part have either been preserved or are being restored. This web site contains mostly recent photographs of the buildings, in the interest of documenting these architectural and historic treasures (along with features of lesser significance).
In addition there are historic images available on this site and from the internal and external links further up on this page. The images in the last 3 links in the following list cannot be reused elsewhere without permission from the webmaster of this site and of Larry Wakefield):
Online since August 15, 1998.
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