Monday, April 18, 2011

Kalamazoo State Mental Hospital - Kalamazoo, Michigan

Apparently, what follows may be some forbidden photographs! Ooops! I'll tell you why in a second... But first, I have to tell you, I have such a fascination with state mental hospitals, especially the history of the treatment and the amazing Kirkbride architecture!!! So when Jeff and I went to Bell's on Saturday, I knew we were quite close to what is now called the Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital and I sweet-talked Jeff into driving that way so I could snap a few photos! From what I have read, almost all of the Kirkbride architecture was torn down at this facility and only a single water tower remains. The tower itself is very impressive, although you could only see the top. We assumed that it sets in the center of a courtyard surrounded by the hospital walls that you now see. So, I set off to find a picture of it online and sure enough I found a blog that linked to the Bing map of it. That beautiful tower is indeed nestled between all those brick walls. Anyways, then Jeff told me "You could have had your camera confiscated." and I, in a very confused voice" said "What in the world are you talking about?" Well this blog post mentions comments on a flickr photo saying it's apparently illegal to take photographs on the grounds of state psychiatric hospitals in the State of Michigan due to patient privacy, but the comments go on to say that you can indeed take photos but not of the patients. Really? Do you really have to tell someone that? I suppose some people do not have common sense when it comes to those things. So, is there a law or not? I did a Google search and tried to find it on the Michigan State government website, but didn't succeed. Anyways, I think I will call there and ask their take on it..... because there are two photos I can think of that I REALLY wanted but didn't get.... although I am not willing to knowingly break the law to get them. Ha! For now, I guess I will just treasure and appreciate the few photos I did get (even though it was extremely crappy weather)! Without further ado, the "forbidden" photographs.....

The front entrance with the water tower behind:

Who visits for just 15 minutes? :) This sign was amazing and appeared to be very old. The black sign is tarnished and the white lettering is peeling.
DSC_0414 copy

Go left to be admitted! :)
DSC_0413 copy

Another view of the water tower:

And I played around some PSE actions on this one.... kinda fun how it turned out. Almost eerie. Love the dirty sidewalk.

Edited to add: The Kalamazoo Public Library has a local history section with some great photos of this hospital's history. You can view them here.


  1. Love the pics !!! That last one looks like it came straight out of a horror film !! Great job !

  2. Love the pics! I need to go picture taking with you so you can give me some pointers!!

  3. AWESOME!!! Love the visitor sign!

  4. Love that last one. That is one very cool water tower.

  5. Shannon,
    I grew up just a few blocks from KRPH. It often provided some interesting moments in my neighborhood when people escaped. I also would occasionally go to church at the chapel that was there. I had the unique opportunity to spend 8 weeks there on the Admission Unit when I did my pysch rotation during my last year of nursing school. Love the pics!