Kalamazoo State Hospital

At the urging of Governor Epaphroditus Ransom, Michigan's legislature commissioned an insane asylum to treat the state's mentally ill in 1848. Kalamazoo was chosen to become home to the asylum, and construction of the new hospital began in 1854. Two Kirkbride buildings were built — one for female patients and one for male patients — and became home to the first state-funded asylum in Michigan.

The hospital grew quickly and by the early twentieth century was home to over seventy buildings on over one thousand acres of land. Eventually, the Kirkbrides were demolished to make room for more modern structures. The male department went first, being knocked down in 1939. The female department was later demolished in 1967.

The hospital still operates as the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital, reportedly the largest mental health facility in Michigan. The only structure still remaining from the 19th century is an old water tower which was built in 1895.

Other names for this hospital:

  • Michigan Asylum for the Insane
  • Western Michigan Asylum
  • Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital
  • Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital


Forum Topics

Kalamazoo Had Two Kirks!
I just received “Asylum for the Insane: A History of the Kalamazoo State Hospital” today, and I began to flip through and read something briefly when I realized – there was...
Old Photos
I was adding a page about Kalamazoo State Hospital and came across some old images from the...

Blog Posts

Even More Kirkbride Buildings
As explained a while back in this post, it's my goal to post pages with pictures and history of each demolished Kirkbride building that I never got a chance to visit. I've...
Kirkbrides in American Memory
A while ago I came across some photos of Taunton State Hospital on the Library of Congress' American Memory web site. They're part of a collection of photos put together by the...