I stood on the threshold of Cottage No. 34 bursting with excitement for the opportunity to explore, photograph and hear the stories.
As chance would have it, I actually did a little shooting around the outside of Cottage No. 34 earlier that morning, not knowing at the time that this would be the building I would get to explore on the inside a little bit later on.
The first thing I noticed when I stepped inside, aside from all that glorious peeling paint, was the cold. It was colder than a meat locker. Definitely colder than outside. In short order, my feet, even inside my trusted Paisleys felt like blocks of ice. Unwilling to be deterred I moved in and started to explore, all the while staying tuned in to the history that Joe was sharing.
Cottage No. 34
Act No. 121 of the Public Acts of 1899, allowed the construction of a hospital for acutely insane or "curable" male patients. Cottage No. 34 was constructed at an approximate cost of $20,000. Construction was completed in 1904. It was an "open" cottage, meaning that it was a cottage that was unlocked and without grating over the windows and occupied by patients who had the freedom of the grounds. Many of the patients living in this cottage worked in the greenhouse and garden areas.
In 1964, the hospital with the aid of a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, established a vocational activities program for children and young adults. The grant funds allowed the remodeling of the cottage to house the program.
*from the book Northern Michigan Asylum
They have quite the problem with people breaking in and spraying graffiti on the walls.
Lovely old radiators.
Transom windows equal window love!
Curved radiator and more graffiti. This rad was in the curved tower that I showed earlier in the post.
Each end of the cottage also had a tower, unusual in the cottage designs here.
I couldn't resist a shot of the bathroom.
I admit for a while I wasn't as tuned in to Joe as I should have been. I was too busy taking photographs. Although the low light situation inside created a challenge, I did the best I could with what I had. I had a good low light wide angle lens and set my ISO fairly high so I could hand hold. I didn't get all the shots I wanted but that is a good reason to go back and take the tour again. Learn more and shoot more.
Leaving Cottage No. 34, I was actually happy to go back outside, hoping that my feet would "warm up" out there, because by this time I could not feel them anymore.
We next stopped outside Cottage No. 30 very briefly and then continued on the road that lead past the backsides of all the cottages.
Cottage No. 30
Next stop was the backside of the Men's dining hall. Apparently the fan above the door here has not stopped turning since the building was built in 1915, wind or no wind. Spooky…
Finally we were going inside again, and there was glorious heat! I began to feel my feet again.
The Chapel is being restored as we speak and is due to open by May of this year.
This lower level, where the glorious heat was, was originally the kitchen for Building 50. Here the food for the entire institution was prepared, except for the administration section and special diet patients. This kitchen was divided into eleven rooms, including a temporary room, sink room, steaming room, room for preparation of vegetables, (almost all the work done by patients), and a dining room for employees.
Joe, our tour guide talking to the group.
The original cast iron columns.
The original marble floor.
Above the kitchen was the chapel room, which could seat 318, and was also used for amusement purposes, concerts, dances, socials, etc.
A drop ceiling was installed some time in the mid 1900's covering up this beautiful wood work on the ceiling. The drop ceiling is being taken down and all this beautiful wood work being restored.
Being Northern Michigan and getting lots of snow in the winter, people tunnels were built to make getting from one building to the next much easier in the winter.
Steam Tunnel - housing large steam pipes to carry heat to the buildings from the on-site power plant. The steam pipes have now been removed. It was quite weird walking on a curved floor. Also Joe shut the lights off briefly when we first entered this tunnel. Let's just say pitch black doesn't do it justice.
The steam tunnel that we traveled through brought us back into Building No. 50 right where we began.
I have to say that this is the best $25 I have ever spent on a tour. I definitely want to take it again in warmer weather. Maybe Joe needs an assistant, I would work for free. Just to have the opportunity to shoot some more and learn more would be well worth it.