Posts Tagged ‘James Decker Munson’

In Traverse City, Michigan, US there is the last of the Kirkbride style building which is one of four that were originally in Michigan. It was established in 1881, due to the demand for a third psychiatric unit at the time. In 1885 it opened with 43 patients, James Decker Munson was the superintendent from its opening until 1924. It was, at the time, one of the largest employers in the area.

Before the 1950’s and drugs, Munson advocated therapy, kindness, comfort and pleasure for rehabilitation and treatment. He forbade the use of restraints, such as straight jackets, and the idea of therapy via productive work was one thing that seemed key. 1910’s to 1930’s the farm there was even home to a world champion milk cow, Traverse Colantha Walker, her grave is at the end of the farm dirt trail and asylum route.

It was primarily for the service of the patients, needing psychiatric care but also expanded during the outbreak of TB, typhoid, influenza, polio and diphtheria. At some points in time it was used for the care of the elderly and drug rehabilitation. The asylum/hospital then carried on from 1926, into the 1950’s and a portrait of Dr Munson hangs out at the main lobby of Munson Medical Care.

The decline came like many during the 1950’s, most of the buildings were demolished in the 1970’s and in 1989 it closed with a loss of 200 jobs to the local community. In 2000 there was an agreement reached to secure and renovate the existing buildings. It seems that not all of the hospital could be saved but it is fortunate that some of it has been.

Searching around I found reference to a take about the Hippy Tree, if you walk around it in the ‘correct way’ you can find a portal to hell. Sounds fun for a random nonsensical urban legend.

Other than the usual stories of spooky noises, bangs and echoes I could find nothing worth on the paranormal scale. Again, if you can show me something worthwhile I’ll take a look.

Traverse City State Hospital postcard circa 1930.jpg
By Unknown author – postcard, Public Domain, Link