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A HISTORY OF THE ASYLUMS FOR THE INSANE IN MICHIGAN

BY HENRY M. HURD, M. D.

This plan was the product of the joint experience of Drs. John P. Gray and Edwin H. VanDusen, two officers of the asylum for the insane at Utica, N. Y. In January, 1854, to secure the advice and experience of Dr. Gray in the construction of the building, the trustees elected him medical superintendent, at a salary not to exceed $800, and his necessary traveling expenses. The plan adopted for the building was a marked and gratifying departure from previous plans of similar structures. The style of architecture was pleasing, and the arrangement of the wards was such as to secure a large amount of light, and comparatively perfect ventilation by means of a fan. Precautions were also taken, by the use of indirect steam heating, and the construction of brick arches between the floors, and brick partition walls to all the rooms, to guard against the danger of fire. The site selected was about one mile from the then village of Kalamazoo, in a beautiful grove. The erection of the building was begun in the spring of 1854, and was prosecuted with considerable vigor until the appropriation was expended. Unfortunately, the builders did not seem to have accurately counted the cost, because the appropriation was exhausted and work was stopped before the walls were carried up much above the third story. In their report for that year, the trustees state frankly that they "have not arrived at a very close estimate of the ultimate cost of the asylum buildings and fixtures ******* but they have reason to suppose the entire expense will fall little, if any, short of two hundred thousand dollars. And this sum they are unanimously of opinion is not larger than is required to make such provision for the care of her insane as the true interest of the State demands.

MICHIGAN ASYLUMS


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