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Kalamazoo Sanitarium

Southwest Michigan Tuberculosis Sanitarium Building


1500 Blakeslee Avenue, Kalamazoo, Michigan.


The abandoned Southwest Michigan Tuberculosis Sanitarium building can be found on a hillside overlooking the city of Kalamazoo, in the Fairmont neighborhood. Blakeslee is located between Alamo Avenue and W. North St. and N. Prairie Avenue and Denner St.


After hunting down this address, Tom and I looked through the surrounding security heavy duty chain-linked fence, topped with barbed wire, and studied this four story, 45,000 sq foot institutional facility made up of a variety of brick buildings, and marveled at its woe be gone appearance of neglect, complete with broken windows. There it sits, on a prime piece of real estate of several "rolling acres", a huge red elephant located in a slightly run-down, yet clean, well-kept neighborhood. If this was located in an upscale neighborhood, the homeowners association, not to mention the art jury would be screaming bloody murder!  Not only is it a huge eyesore, but it also gives off a really creepy aura, giving us both the feeling that something was watching us from one of is many broken windows.

This wasn't always the case. In 1954, this 2.5 million dollar facility was once the home of the state of the art Southwest Michigan Tuberculosis Sanitarium, offering the latest treatments known, for the once deadly killer, Tuberculosis, including the newest antibiotics developed which were quickly kicking the disease in the pants, curing people who would've died if they had lived in the 1920s and early '30s.

Their successful program changed the future of this building, as patients were actually cured and sent home. Even with all the mental patients with TB from all over Michigan in its care, by 1966, there were only 69 patients. So, 108 long time care, elderly patients, who no longer needed to be treated for mental illness were transferred from the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital to spend the rest of their years under the care of this facility.  It was no surprise, then, that the Sanitarium as a Tuberculosis care center was shut down in 1969, and turned over to the Michigan Department of Mental Health, who gave it to Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital.

From 1969 through 1990, this institution kept up the proud tradition of  offering the best to its patients, including a varied gerontology program for seniors battling senility and other geriatric patients, who were in various states of physical decline. They were treated well by the staff and there was no evidence of abuse.  By 1990, the numbers again had fallen to the lowest level ever, and the hospital was closed for good. It was in great shape, and just needed the right organization to move in. The Department of Mental Health & The Department of Management and Budget were in charge of finding the right party. At first, several organizations were interested, but "no action was taken."

One serious offer came in 1990, from the K-PEP organization, which offers a private, non-profit program alternative to jail for non-violent offenders, 17-25 years old.  Many in the surrounding community were not pleased, fearing the invasion of shady influences at a time when their neighborhood was fighting to stay ahead of urban decline, and undesirables entering their streets for illegal activities. This plan was nuked.

Another serious offer didn't come until 7 years later, by Western Michigan University, but the deal fell through because of the huge asbestos problem which exists throughout this 1954 structure.  No one wanted to fork over the money to fix the problem, which would of been expensive.



Staying in a hospital or institution  until death isn't the way most people want to spend their time on earth.  Being unhappy because of suffering from disease or mental problems or being infirm while alive, isn't an easy way to exist. Death can be a release from it all, but sometimes it isn't, perhaps because the entities don't realize that they are free to go to the other side. Or, perhaps they feel the need to haunt the place they suffered so much in, not willing to let it all go. (See Alcatraz Story)


Residents who live in the neighborhood around the buildings have heard the screams and cries of mentally tortured souls, coming from the buildings at night.

Sensitive people can feel something watching them from the windows of the place, which is very creepy indeed. Tom and I definitely felt a disturbed spiritual energy and presence coming from the building, from just standing on the sidewalk. We are not particularly psychic, but if the aura is strong, we do feel it. (Franklin Castle).


Yes indeed! Some entity(ies) are stuck in its own misery, expressing its pain at night and watches the living during the day, longing to be someplace else.