As we were standing in the lobby at church the Sunday before our departure talking with the couple we were going with, I suddenly remembered this tour.
I jumped on-line as soon as we got home to check and see if any were running while we were going to be there. Indeed there was, both Friday and Saturday. Delighted I quickly booked the four of us for the 1p.m. tour on Friday.
We arrived promptly at ten minutes to one, just as the brochure asked. Frankly, I love being early anyway, what better way to make a good first impression and chat up the tour guide ahead of time. You never know when that little relationship building will come in handy.
There were eight of us on this tour, perfect! A nice small number. Easier to ask questions that way and sometimes you can get a few more places with a small group.
Our tour guide, Joe, was amazing. It became apparent very quickly that he has a great love and passion for the Asylum, both the renovated and unrenovated parts.
We did not stay long in this finished building, our goal was the unfinished buildings.
We trudged off through the freshly fallen snow. Our first stop was Cottage No. 40. This cottage was constructed in 1898 at an approximate cost of $25,000 for the purpose of housing 100 irritable or noisy male patients.
Yes, this picture was from October, we did not stop in a good spot for me to get a good shot of it.
Joe, our tour guide, grew up in Traverse City and spent some of his boyhood days hanging around the outside of the Asylum while patients still occupied the cottages. Joe told us the story of a day when he and some friends were standing outside Cottage No. 40 when a male patient came to the window, saw them and started screaming. The man disappeared only to return a few minutes later and started pushing something through the holes in the window grate. The boys moved closer to see what it was the man pushed through. They discovered pieces of bread. Obviously the patient was concerned for them and was trying to feed them.
|Yes, again from October|
When a Moving Picture Machine was given to the state it was installed in the dining room. When the dining room was not in use for dining, it could be converted into an assembly hall and comfortably seat 600-800 people.
Moving on, the next stop was Cottage No. 28. This cottage was designated for 50 male geriatric patients when it was completed and opened in 1891 at a cost of $13,800. Unlike all the other cottages its tower is on the center of the roof instead of at the sides or corners.
One last outside stop was at Cottage No. 32, a former Tuberculosis ward. The windows are either bricked in or replaced with barricade windows to try and keep vandals out.
It was quite chilly outside and a little snow was starting to fall, so nobody had a desire to linger.
Next up the Inside Tour…
*I divided this tour into two posts because if you are like me, my attention span is short for reading posts, so not to overwhelm, it is better read and enjoyed divided up.
**Historical information came from the book Northern Michigan Asylum by William A. Decker M.D. a most delightful book filled with history and period photographs.
Linking up with my friend Helen for her Weekend Walks blog party