Astounding and Creepy Facts About The Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital
The Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital is filled with a rich and creepy history. The hospital opened on August 29th 1859 and was originally named the Michigan Asylum For The Insane, and it was the largest hospital of its kind.
Historic Buildings on the Hospital Grounds
The hospital grounds, located on Oakland Drive, are almost a mile long and was such a prominent feature of this section of the city, Oakland Drive was originally known as Asylum Avenue, as shown on this historic map of Kalamazoo. The property had two working farms, the very famous water tower, that was constructed in 1895 and is 172 feet tall, plus a gate house that was built in the style of 'carpenter gothic'. The gate house, or gate cottage ,as the staff referred to it, housed about a dozen female patients.
Name Changes Of The Hospital
In 1911, the facility changed its name to the Kalamazoo State Hospital"
In 1978, it became the Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital.
Finally, in 1995, it became the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital.
In 1954, an additional was added to the 45,000 square foot hospital, a tuberculosis ward. The facility also became the Tuberculosis Sanitarium.
Famous Patients of the Kalamazoo Asylum
According to Cliffnotes.com in 1937 Malcolm X's mother Louise Little was admitted to the hospital due to a nervous breakdown. Malcolm hardly visited her and was not until 1963 that he and his brothers helped to have her released.
Lydia Adeline Jackson Button Smith was a patient at the hospital and work a book that you can find on Amazon.com. "Behind The Scenes, or Life in a Insane Asylum", is her story of her stay at the facility.
Kalamazoo Asylum Tunnel System
Facilities Management at WMU, who are charged with maintaining the property, say “any tunnels and underground structures not already sealed or demolished were dynamited, as further deterioration was making them unsafe.” WMU has maintained the property since 1975.
Murder at the Kalamazoo Asylum
According to Kalamazoo Library, in 1904 a doctor was attacked by a patient and stabbed to death.
In 1954, a 21 year old nurse from Holland was killed. Marilyn Kraai was lured away from her post on the main floor to the basement by an 18 year male patient. It was there that he attacked then strangled her to death.
Haunting of the Kalamazoo Asylum
Onlyinyourstate.com claims people who live in the area have repeatedly reported seeing figures walk by the broken windows in the daylight. This is interesting because the hospital is completely closed off to the public.
Locals claim they often hear screams of torture and cries of pain coming from the building.
Those facts may give you pause if you pass by the hospital alone on a chilly fall evening.