The Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital (KRPH) has existed continuously at the Oakland Drive location since 1859. The Michigan Asylum for the Insane and Asylum Avenue were the original names of the place and the road.
The Michigan system of asylums was designed to be self-supporting with all manner of in-house industries and services providing food, clothing and other necessities for staff and patients. Most of these functions were located on the asylum grounds or nearby in the community.
The Kalamazoo Hospital building plan shown below illustrates this principal very well. An inventory of the 1940s buildings includes male and female infirmaries, male and female hospitals, water tower, cottages for staff and resident physicians, chapel, greenhouse and workroom, power plant, nurses' residence, auditorium, maintenance building and garage, cannery, laundry, and kitchen. Several miles away at the Asylum Lake Farm were more hospital units and staff cottages, piggeries and dairy barns, and cultivated fields.
A brief history of selected buildings*:
Named after Dr. Alfred I. Noble, Superintendant from 1906 to 1916. Built in 1919 as a dormitory for asylum staff. Transferred to the Michigan Department of Corrections in 1991.
the Water Tower:
Built in 1895, designed by B. F. Stratton of Detroit. Named to the State and National Registries of historic sites in 1975.
the Gate Cottage
Built in 1874 as a gardener's hut. In 1981 was transferred to the Citizens Association of the KRPH.
The Hospital has had three chapels since its inception. The first was built in 1859 with the opening of the Asylum. The second, shown on the plan above, was built in 1891. The current structure, the June M. Sherman Interfaith Chapel, was built in 1965.
*Building information is from the KRPH 135th Anniversary pamphlet, published in 1994.