Inside the Psychiatric Hospital Water Tower: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Beginning in 1859, patients have been taken care of in this particular facility, the Psychiatric Hospital in Kalamazoo, referred to for many years as the city's 'insane asylum'.
It would take another 36 years for them to get around building a water tower. As for its look, the administration wanted a medieval look to match the other buildings.....and in 1895 they came up with what you see to this day. It looks like the kind of tower where Rapunzel let down her hair...or where a prince would save a damsel in distress. Today, however, most onlookers like to compare it to the phallic Ann Arbor water tower. Yeah, they are similar, but this Kalamazoo tower is less more medieval.
The tower is 175 feet tall with a main tank 40 feet high and 40 feet in diameter. It's actually a tower inside of another tower; between the two is a spiral staircase that winds 100 feet up. At the top is a cool medieval-type room with windows.
It has survived two lightning strikes – in the summer of 1937 and the summer of 1945, both of which started fires.
As for rumors and legends: Was the water tower actually used at one time as dungeons for mental patients? Well, no, but those rumors will probably persist forever.
Over the years it naturally deteriorated.....and true to form, back in 1974, some city official decided “hey, let's tear down the water tower.” City residents screamed “NO!” and began a fund-raising campaign to save the tower. Almost $210,000 was raised and thanks to the community this historic structure was saved from the wrecking ball.
The gallery below shows the inside of the water tower and a few old photos of the hospital itself from the early 1900s,
The Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital & Inside the Water Tower
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