The 'Hippie Tree' is a colorful and legendary spot in Northern Michigan. Located near the grounds of the former Traverse City State Hospital, the tree has collected its share of lore over the years.

The Traverse City State Hospital, once known as the Northern Michigan Asylum, was established in 1881, the 3rd psychiatric hospital in Michigan after Kalamazoo and Pontiac.

The superintendent who ran the asylum was, according to Wikipedia,

a firm believer in the "beauty is therapy" philosophy. Patients were treated through kindness, comfort,pleasure, and beautiful flowers provided year-round by the asylum's own greenhouses and the variety of trees Munson planted on the grounds. Restraints, such as the straitjacket, were forbidden. Also, as part of the "work is therapy" philosophy, the asylum provided opportunities for patients to gain a sense of purpose through farming, furniture construction, fruit canning, and other trades that kept the institution fully self-sufficient. The asylum farm began in 1885 with the purchase of some milk cows and within a decade grew to include pigs, chickens, milk and meat cows, and many vegetable fields. In the 1910s-30s, the farm was home to a world champion milk cow, Traverse Colantha Walker. Her grave is at the end of the dirt trail between the farm and the asylum.

Despite the alleged advanced and kind care at the facility, legends and myths about the asylum and the well-known tree on its grounds persist. Here are 5 colorful photos and even more colorful tales about the Hippie Tree.

The Hippie Tree photos come from the YouTube video tour provided by user XPoisonxxXxx. The Traverse City native gives a full tour of the tree and its surroundings.

Folklore Sources:

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