Spooky photos aside, the Traverse City State Hospital / Northern Michigan Asylum / Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Hospital does not have a sordid past, and the place feels much more deserted than haunted. The facility was established in 1885 in response to demand. Its first superintendent, Dr. James Decker Munson, believed in beauty as therapy as well as providing work opportunities so that patients could feel useful. Patients seem to have been treated well (they didn’t use restraints, including straitjackets), and the facility was largely self-sufficient. Eventually closing in 1989, the grounds and buildings are being redeveloped into beautiful condos/apartments, underground shopping (very swanky, I might add), and restaurants.
We had planned to walk the trails that surround The Commons, but ended up enjoying the Halloween-y setting of the abandoned buildings and overcast, darkening day instead. If you’re looking for an interesting stroll in Traverse City, I recommend the sprawling grounds at the Commons, especially if you want to walk with ghosts.