Pontiac State Hospital

In 1873, Michigan's legislature approved the creation of a commission to find a suitable location for a new asylum. Overcrowding at the state's first asylum in Kalamazoo was the impetus. A location in the eastern half of the state was sought to balance the burden of the state's growing population, and the city of Pontiac was selected for the site in 1874 (narrowly beating out Detroit). Pontiac State Hospital opened in 1878 and was originally known as the Eastern Michigan Asylum for the Insane. Elijah E. Myers was the architect.

The Kirkbride building's wings were extended as early as 1882 to accomodate an increasing number of patients. The building would have many alterations and additions over it's lifespan, some of them utilitarian and not particularly sensitive to the building's historical character. However, much of the building's original grand Victorian Gothic features—including the intricate patterns of it's slate roof—managed to survive until the hospital was shut down at the end of the twentieth century.

Pontiac State Hospital closed in 1997. By then it was known as Clinton Valley Center (the name had been changed in 1973). In spite of its National Register of Historic Places status, the hospital was completely demolished in 2000 amid much controversy and legal wrangling. The former hospital grounds are now home to a subdivision.

Other names for this hospital:

  • Eastern Michigan Asylum for the Insane
  • Eastern Michigan Asylum
  • Clinton Valley Center


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