Hometown Tourist: The Village at Grand Traverse Commons

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is a community within the community of Traverse City.

What used to be the Traverse City State Hospital is now a series of shops.

Within its walls are countless stories and rich history which can be toured in different ways.

This week’s Hometown Tourist takes you there for a peek at what there is to discover.

“We get a lot of people who walk in here and they go, ‘what is this place.’ What was it is, it was a former asylum. It was originally known as the northern Michigan Asylum, and then was the Traverse City State Hospital from 1885 to 1989,” said Krystal Fluette, Office Manager of the Minervini Group.

There would be seemingly endless stories of healing if these walls could talk.

The Traverse City State Hospital was originally built for more than 500 patients, each with their own room.  And the design was crucial to the theory of healing.

“Dr. Munson has his theory on beauty is therapy. So the building was constructed in a way to allow fresh air, natural sunlight, all of the natural cures for things versus medication and really a noble intent for care for the patients. Every room had tall windows, very tall ceilings, and each floor was a ward so all of those patients were able to walk out of their rooms,” said Fluette.

Today, you can step back in time and immerse yourself in the history of the construction of the building. Tours also dive into the purpose the building served and the transformation into what it is today.

You can explore the tunnels that run underneath and un-renovated buildings that are popular with photographers.

“The underground steam tunnels which were built in 1883, people just can’t believe that there’s a whole tunnel system under this whole property,” explained Fluette.

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is now a bustling community, but the stories of its past still bring people in to discover what lies within its brick walls.

Categories: Hometown Tourist