Archeological Assessment

A white, shattered, ceramic bowl with blue print lying in the grass

Ceramic bowl with the Michigan state seal found in the project area during the pedestrian survey (Field Number 3-4-36).

Title: "An Archeological Assessment of the Asylum Lake/Colony Farm Orchard Property in Kalamazoo, Michigan"

Written by: Rory J. Becker and Dr. Michael S. Nassaney

Summary: This report presents the results of documentary research concerning land-use practices and a pedestrian survey in the project area to assess its archaeological sensitivity.

Click on the following headings to take you to that section of the report:

List of figures

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Historical overview and background research

  1. The built environment
  2. Economic activities
  3. Social environment

Chapter 3: Methodology and results

Chapter 4—Conclusions and recommendations

References cited

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The Colony Farm Orchard and Asylum Lake properties, currently owned by Western Michigan University, were once part of a working farm administered by the Kalamazoo State Mental Hospital. Founded in 1857, the State Hospital was the first facility devoted to the care of the mentally ill in Michigan. In the 1880s the hospital trustees authorized the purchase of land south of Asylum Lake to establish the Colony Farm. The operation was designed to use agricultural activities to help rehabilitate patients as prescribed by leading progressive health reform advocates. This report presents the results of documentary research concerning land-use practices and a pedestrian survey in the project area to assess its archaeological sensitivity. Several locations within the project area have the potential to contain significant archaeological remains that can inform about the social and economic conditions of the people who used and occupied the area from ancient times up through the 20th century.

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As with all collaborative endeavors, this research project would not have been possible without the assistance of many individuals. We are grateful for the vision of Bob Beam (vice president for Business and Finance), Chuck Ide (director of the Environmental Institute) and Chad Avery (Chair, Asylum Lake Preserve Research and Education Review Panel) who made this archaeological assessment a priority in their planning for the future of the Asylum Lake Preserve. Thanks to Chad Avery and the WMU Office of Landscape Services for access to the site, information concerning previous work on the property and the digital camera utilized during the pedestrian survey. Nathan Burtch and Jessica Sonday (WMU Office of Landscape Services) provided GPS and GIS technical support for the walkover survey and they assisted in creating the detailed maps and images produced with ArcMap 8.0 software that are included in this report. Mary Lou Larson (University of Wyoming) also provided technical assistance with the geographic information systems. Students from the Department of Anthropology who volunteered their time to participate in the survey include Jacob Bach, Brock Giordano, Marc Henshaw, Lacosta Lykowski, LisaMarie Malischke and Brendan Weaver.

Operators of GPS equipment during the survey include Nathan Burtch, Jessica Sonday, Alvin Brooks and Michael Traina. Lacosta Lykowski also conducted documentary research on the built environment that assisted us in preparing Chapter 2. Other members of the Department of Anthropology who contributed time and effort to the project include Daniel Lynch and Lauretta Eisenbach. We thank William Sauck (WMU Department of Geosciences) for providing maps and information on the project area. Sharon Carlson assisted by locating resources and digitizing many of the Colony Farms images housed in the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections. Mark Hoffman shared his knowledge of the property's history. Jay Emerson (WMU Department of Geography) provided two of the four Trimble GPS units used in the survey. Mark Hoffman, Chad Avery, Bill Cremin, Robert Nagler, Paul MacNellis, Connie Ferguson and Jack Wood reviewed an earlier draft of this report and provided useful commentary. Finally, we thank all of the members of the Kalamazoo community who had a hand in preserving this property for public and educational uses. By doing so, they have helped to save a small part of Kalamazoo's history.

Rory J. Becker, M.A.
Project Archaeologist

Michael S. Nassaney, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

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List of Figures

Figure 1. Project area shown shaded in gray on the 1967 USGS 7.5" Topographic Map, Kalamazoo Quadrangle.
Figure 2. Subsurface anomalies exhibiting signatures consistent with utility pipes identified through geophysical survey.
Figure 3. Location of the 2003 geophysical survey grid.
Figure 4. Results of the 2003 resistivity survey.
Figure 5. Location of the Neil Hindes farmhouse and Colony Farm property in 1887.
Figure 6. Hindes Cottage in the early 20th century.
Figure 7. Van Deusen Cottage in the early 20th century.
Figure 8. Palmer Cottage in the early 20th century.
Figure 9. Mitchell Cottage in the early 20th century.
Figure 10. Pratt Cottage prior to 1930 remodeling.
Figure 11. Fair Oaks Cottage in the early 20th century.
Figure 12. Locations of Colony Farm buildings in 1900.
Figure 13. Locations of Colony Farm buildings in 1930.
Figure 14. Locations of Colony Farm buildings in 1953.
Figure 15. Lake view from Van Deusen Cottage.
Figure 16. Woman walking toward the Mitchell Cottage.
Figure 17. Hilltop cottages.
Figure 18. People seated on a bench near Van Deusen Cottage.
Figure 19. Fair Oaks Cottage with Palmer Cottage in the background.
Figure 20. Pedestrian survey areas and numerical designations.
Figure 21. Locations of artifacts and features recorded during the pedestrian survey.
Figure 22. Pedestrian survey results for Area 1.
Figure 23. Pedestrian survey results for Area 2.
Figure 24. Pedestrian survey results for Area 3.
Figure 25. Archaeological sensitivity map.

Chapter 1


This report documents the results of an archaeological assessment of the 274-acre Asylum Lake and 54-acre Colony Farm Orchard properties (hereafter the preserve). The preserve is a 328-acre parcel of land in Kalamazoo County owned by Western Michigan University. The property is currently set aside as a passive-use recreation area mandated through 1975 Public Act 316 (and subsequent amendments) under an agreement between the city of Kalamazoo and WMU and a “Conservation Restriction adopted by the WMU Board of Trustees on April 16, 2004 (Mark Hoffman, personal communication, 2005). The Research and Education Committee Review Panel of the Asylum Lake Policy and Management Council voted to approve an archaeological assessment given that the area has the potential to contain archaeological resources that are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The purpose of an archaeological assessment is to collect cultural, historical and environmental information to aid in the identification of archaeological sites in a particular area. Site identification is a necessary first step in the process of site protection and preservation. By conducting an archaeological assessment, a tentative predictive model of the probable location and disposition of archaeological resources can be developed for planning purposes (McGimsey and Davis 1977:69). It is important to realize that such a model “should be regarded as tentative and subject to testing in subsequent stages of research” (McGimsey and Davis 1977:69). Subsequent stages typically involve more intensive investigation.

This assessment was conducted by members of the WMU Anthropology Department in conjunction with the WMU Office of Landscape Services through funding made available by the WMU Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance. The study employed extant documentary sources, interviews with individuals knowledgeable about the property and a pedestrian or walkover survey of the property to identify archaeologically sensitive areas. An archaeological assessment will contribute to the mission of the preserve by providing information on the extant cultural remains and past land-use practices to assist in planning future research, educational and passive recreational uses of the parcel.

Background research was conducted in the 2003-04 academic year. Rory Becker (graduate student) served as project archaeologist and was responsible for implementing the pedestrian survey and coordinating all aspects of the project. Lacosta Lykowski (graduate student) conducted historical background research on the Asylum’s Colony Farm. Both students worked directly under the supervision of Michael Nassaney (professor of Anthropology) who served as principal investigator.

The project area has a long history of land-use and exhibits a high potential for archaeological remains associated with pre-historic Native American occupation as well as more recent activities, despite the known modifications associated with recent activities in the preserve. For example, the area is adjacent to Asylum Lake, which would have been attractive to Native American hunter-gatherers and farmers in the past. It was also the site of the Colony Farm, which was established in 1887 by the Kalamazoo State Hospital. (Initially founded as the Michigan Asylum for the Insane, the asylum had several name changes throughout its existence. We refer to the institution as the Kalamazoo State Hospital throughout this report.) The farm began as an experimental facility to provide work opportunities for its patients as part of their rehabilitation. It also contributed to the hospital’s self-sufficiency by providing fresh produce and canned goods for its patients and staff. The Colony Farm operation was commonly referred to as “Fair Oaks” and these titles are used interchangeably in the historical documents. We refer to the institutional farming efforts on the preserve as simply Colony Farm throughout this report for the purpose of consistency.

We began this study by examining documentary sources pertaining to the history of activities conducted in the project area. In Chapter 2 of this report we present the historical and environmental context of the project area based on this background research. We begin by discussing the sources we consulted for information on the land-use practices in the project area from pre-contact times through the present. We present this information in chronological order and highlight the archaeological expectations associated with past activities at the preserve. We pay particular attention to the post-1887 period and detail the built environment, site occupants and daily activities associated with the Colony Farm. In Chapter 3 we describe the methodology and results of the walkover or pedestrian survey. The major outcome of this work is a series of maps produced with geographic information system software showing areas of archaeological sensitivity. These can serve to guide management decisions pertaining to future developments at the preserve. In the final chapter, we summarize the results of the archaeological assessment and make management recommendations for future research. We call attention to high sensitivity areas and suggest the types of research questions that can potentially be addressed through the study of archaeological remains at the preserve.

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Chapter 2

Historical overview and background research

The purpose of this chapter is to define the spatial parameters of the project area (Figure 1) and to discuss the sources consulted for the background information during this study. We also provide a historical overview of the land-use patterns and events associated with the project area based on the background research.

The project area consists of two parcels of land. The first parcel lies between Asylum Lake and Parkview Avenue to the east of Drake Road in section 30 of Township 2 South, Range 11 West (referred to here as the Asylum Lake property). The second parcel is between Drake Road and U.S. 131 north of Parkview Avenue in section 25 of Township 2 South, Range 12 West (known as the Colony Farm Orchard). Although both of these properties lie within Kalamazoo County, the Asylum Lake property is in the city of Kalamazoo whereas the Colony Farm Orchard parcel is in Oshtemo Township.

Asylum Lake is a glacial lake that currently has a maximum depth of 15.8 meters (52 feet), mean depth of 7.2 meters (23.5 feet), maximum length of 930 meters (3,050 feet), maximum width of 290 meters (950 feet), mean width of 214 meters (702 feet), surface area of 19.9 hectares (49 acres) and volume of 1.4 million cubic meters (Kalamazoo Nature Center 2001). It feeds into the smaller Little Asylum Lake from its eastern outflow, and ultimately supplies water to the Western Portage Creek watershed.

1967 Topographic Map of Asylum Lake

Figure 1. Project area shown shaded in gray on the 1967 USGS 7.5” Topographic Map, Kalamazoo Quadrangle.

The land once known as the “Lee Baker Farm” is immediately south of Parkview Avenue and east of U.S. 131 in section 31 of Township 2 South, Range 11 West in Kalamazoo County. This area is the site of the John Gibbs house, soccer fields and the WMU Business and Technology Park. Although this parcel was a part of the Colony Farm operation between 1930 and 1959, it was not included as part of this archaeological assessment. The Gibbs house (3403 Parkview Avenue) is named for John Gibbs who moved to the Michigan Territory and purchased the land from the Kalamazoo District land office in 1832 (Durant 1993). The land was sold to G. W. Hall after Gibbs’s death in the 1880s; Hall then sold it to H. A. Kiltz in 1913. The state of Michigan acquired it in 1930. It is not known how the historic Gibbs house and property were utilized during the operation of Colony Farm, however the structure was conveyed to WMU in 1959 (Public Act 269) when institutional farming ended. The house is still owned by WMU; it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. In that same year the WMU Board of Trustees dedicated the farmland to honor Dr. Lee O. Baker, 23-year chair of Western’s Department of Agriculture who along with his family were long-time occupants of the house (Mark Hoffman, personal communication, 2005). The site subsequently became known as the Lee Baker Farm.

Although the surrounding landscape was not included in the survey, it has the potential for intact archaeological remains associated with 19th century activities. At Michael Nassaney’s request and with Chuck Ide’s permission, Dr. Michelle Kominz (Geosciences) conducted a geophysical survey of the property immediately behind the house in Fall 2002 in conjunction with her Introduction to Geophysics class (Geology 560). Several subsurface anomalies were identified within two 20 x 20 m blocks using electrical resistivity and conductivity. Subsurface testing is needed to determine if these anomalies have cultural significance. Evidence of various outbuildings typically associated with agricultural activities may exist in close proximity to the Gibbs house (see Sayers and Nassaney [1999] for a predictive model of 19th century farmstead land-use patterns).

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Background research

The background research for this study was conducted during the 2003-04 academic year. During this time, Lacosta Lykowski and Rory Becker consulted many local and regional resources in order to gain insight into the history of land use in the project area. Most of the available documentation is related to the post-1887 Institutional Period (see below) and the Colony Farm operation. However, our concern with the property includes all periods that may have supported human occupation, so a variety of resources were consulted in order to better assess the archaeological sensitivity of the property and its land-use practices.

Dean Anderson of the Office of the State Archaeologist was contacted with regard to previous archaeological investigations. He indicated that the state archives have no information concerning any archaeological investigations of the project area and no sites have been recorded. This study is the first examination of the archaeological potential of the project area.

The Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections (archives hereafter) located on WMU’s East Campus provided a wealth of information and resources. These included many of the Board of Trustees Reports referenced in this document and all of the historic photographs of the Colony Farm operation. A more complete set of the Board of Trustees Reports is held by the Michigan State University Libraries. Plat books and historic maps of Kalamazoo proved useful in conducting this research and many of these are located at the archives. The archives also house Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for selected years. However, the Sanborn maps did not aid in this research because the project area was located outside of the Kalamazoo city limits for the selected maps available. Review of the more comprehensive set of Sanborn maps at the University of Michigan also provided no additional information about the project area for the same reason.

The Local History Room in the Kalamazoo County Public Library located in downtown Kalamazoo has many sources of information about Colony Farm and Kalamazoo County in general. These resources include local histories and back issues of the Kalamazoo Gazette. In fact, many of the references to the Kalamazoo Gazette presented in this report are kept in two folders located in the Local History Room. These folders contain newspaper clippings that provide detailed accounts of the Kalamazoo State Hospital and Colony Farm. However, many of the clippings are photocopied from originals and lack references to the date, month, or year that the articles were printed. These have been referenced as “Kalamazoo Gazette" with no accompanying year or date in several places throughout this report.

Larry Massie’s 1991 work titled "Report on the historic use of the property commonly known as the Kalamazoo State Hospital Colony Farm, the Michigan State University Agricultural Experimental Orchard and the Lee Baker Farm" is also located at the archives. This document provides information about the history of Colony Farm, specifically the use of the Colony Farm orchard as an experimental research site for pesticide application by the Michigan State University Department of Entomology beginning in 1963.

We also consulted the environmental assessment report prepared by Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. (1992). Although the focus of this study was to investigate areas of potential environmental concern on or near the project area (e.g., the potential for hazardous materials), some historical background research was conducted, along with limited subsurface testing. Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. contacted the Michigan Historical Center to obtain files on the mental health facility. They identified “271 feet 9 inches of shelf space for the asylum files,” though they only reviewed five boxes chosen on the basis of a brief description of the files found in the index. These files, which can only be accessed by obtaining written permission, were not examined in our study. They also learned that records for the asylum property facility once maintained by the Kalamazoo State Hospital have been destroyed, according to the secretary who served Richard Thompson, the hospital’s administrative director in 1992. On October 19, 20 and 21, 1992, Julie Hartner and Greg Bills of Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. conducted a visual inspection of the property. In addition to taking photographs of site conditions, they also used a backhoe to explore the contents and potential vertical and horizontal extent of a dump identified in a gully south of Asylum Lake. They noted the presence of food-related artifacts (cans, bottles and dishware), as well as medical containers and determined the dump to be at least 11 feet deep based on two backhoe trenches (SME 1992:3, Photo 31, 32).

Census records were also consulted at the Kalamazoo Public Library. However, searches for some of the previous landowners such as Phineus Hunt and Neil Hindes proved unsuccessful. Information about these people was obtained primarily from the History of Kalamazoo County (Durant 1993). This work has been reprinted several times and copies can be found in the Kalamazoo Public Library, WMU’s Waldo Library and the archives.

All of the current or modern maps presented in this report are located in the map room on the third floor of Waldo Library. These include USGS 7.5” topographic maps of Kalamazoo County and the most recent plat books for Kalamazoo and Oshtemo townships.

The Portage Public Library in Portage, Michigan has a collection of aerial photographs from Kalamazoo County and the surrounding area, including a 1960 photograph of the project area. They are located in the local history room in the basement of the library. Unfortunately, this collection is currently neither cataloged nor indexed; thus, one needs to have a familiarity with the property to be able to identify the 1960 photograph in the absence of a label. Although we conducted an exhaustive search of these photographs and identified only one of the project area, there may be more images of this property in the collection that remain unidentified. According to Robert Nagler (personal communication to Michael Nassaney, 2005), the Kalamazoo Public Works Department also has some aerial photographs of the property.

The Kalamazoo County Courthouse and associated offices located in county office buildings in downtown Kalamazoo contain records of land transactions, compilation sheets and land titles that aided in referencing the previous landowners associated with the project area.
The regional office of the U.S. Geological Survey was also contacted for historic photographs and maps of the area. Their office has a list of available aerial photographs of Kalamazoo County beginning in 1938 and ending with the most recent photographs taken in 1999. These can be purchased in black and white or color. Additionally, recent satellite images of the area may be obtained for free on the internet at

The Western Michigan University Physical Plant houses a large collection of maps, blueprints and schematic drawings of many University buildings and properties. While this collection has maps and blueprints of nearly every building and shed associated with the State Hospital on Oakland Drive, there is only one map of Colony Farm. However, this 1960s map from the Physical Plant collection labels and locates all of the Colony Farm buildings, sheds and outbuildings that were also identified through historic documentary research and appear on the 1960 aerial photograph in the Portage Public Library. This map of Colony Farm is located in one of two drawers marked KMH, as in Kalamazoo Mental Hospital. The 1960s map located in the WMU Physical Plant is considered to be the most comprehensive resource for locating and identifying the cottages, barns, sheds and other outbuildings associated with Colony Farm. The maps presented in this report showing building locations at different times are based primarily on information derived from the Physical Plant map. An architectural inventory of the state hospital buildings including those at Colony Farm was conducted for the state of Michigan (Daverman Associates 1969). Detailed maps provide scale drawings showing room sizes and functions.

Lacosta Lykowski interviewed Stephan Louisell, professor of Psychology at Kalamazoo Valley Community College for this study in 2004. Louisell moved to Colony Farm in 1953 when he was about 8 years old and lived there for about 3 years with his parents and siblings. His father, James Louisell M.D., was a resident physician for Colony Farm. Stephan Louisell shared some remembrances of Colony Farm that differ from descriptions presented by the Board of Regents’ reports. He also mentioned that prior to the 1970s patients were not remunerated for their labor and that this practice was terminated through the efforts of an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer. Further discussions with Louisell and Dr. William Decker, the former medical superintendent of the Asylum Lake operation, may prove to be useful in understanding daily life for the staff and patients.

Dr. William Sauk (WMU, Geosciences) has been using geophysics on the property for a number of years. Sauk is an expert in geophysical prospecting and his efforts have resulted in the identification of several subsurface anomalies related to Colony Farm. These include a number of pipes which supplied the residences with water and the below ground cement structures that were used for maintenance of these pipes. Figure 2 shows the location of the pipes that were identified in 1992 through use of an EM-31 conductivity meter on the property.

Topographical map

Figure 2. Subsurface anomalies exhibiting signatures consistent with utility pipes identified through geophysical survey.

The property is also the location of a geophysical test site created by the Department of Geosciences with assistance from the Department of Anthropology. The test site consists of a number of buried objects (e.g., metal) and activity areas (e.g., fire pits) that simulate archaeological artifacts and features.

WMU Anthropology graduate students Daniel Lynch and Rory Becker conducted a limited geophysical survey in the area west of Drake Road during spring of 2003 (Figure 3).

Location of the 2003 geophysical survey grid

Figure 3. Location of the 2003 geophysical survey grid. Note that south is to the top of the page.

A TR Systems resistivity meter with a twin probe array set at 50 cm for the mobile probe separation was used over a 20 x 40 meter grid. The use of Surfer software to process the resistivity data produced an image (Figure 4) that coincides with the location of the “maternity barn” constructed in the early 20th century. The rectangular foundation of the structure is clearly visible in this image along with other internal features. The large light area near the southwestern corner of the foundation represents a coal slag pile left over from heating the structure. This single image provides information on the exact location, design and architecture of the structure.

Aerial map of asylum lake

Figure 4. Results of the 2003 resistivity survey. Note the rectangular anomaly that probably represents the remains of the maternity barn.


A broad range of documentary and other sources of historical data were consulted during the background research conducted for the Asylum Lake Archaeological Assessment. We examined these sources with an eye toward identifying activities and land-use practices conducted in the project area that may have left material traces. The remainder of this chapter will detail the results of the background research and underscore the potential of the project area to contain archaeological remains associated with different periods of activity.

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Historic overview

Pre-contact period (ca. 10,000 B.C. - A. D. 1650)

Michigan contains extensive archaeological evidence of its ancient inhabitants dating to more than 10,000 years ago and southwest Michigan is no exception (Halsey 1999). Studies throughout the region show that indigenous peoples often chose to settle in close proximity to fresh water sources similar to the area surrounding Asylum Lake. Settlement patterns of native peoples living in this area followed the seasonal availability of food resources. Large seasonally permanent villages were constructed near rivers and lakes during summer months while temporary hunting camps were inhabited in the winter (Fitting and Cleland 1969). This yearly pattern of settlement allowed the Native Americans to take advantage of aquatic resources during spring and late summer when various fish species spawn (Cleland 1982). This type of settlement pattern was based on maximizing the yearly cycle of available meat resources, namely fish and wild game, in conjunction with maize and other crops once these were adopted by native peoples (Cleland 1982; Fitting and Cleland 1969). Furthermore, water and adjacent wetland associations exerted a significant “pull” on native settlement based on extensive archaeological survey in southwest Michigan, including Kalamazoo County (Cremin and De Fant 1987:153).

The geographic and environmental characteristics of the areas surrounding the preserve were attractive settlement locales that are likely to contain evidence of pre-contact, Native American activities in the form of artifacts and features (e.g., hearths, storage pits). In particular, the small stream and nearby kettle hole lake now known as Asylum Lake would have provided a favorable location for the placement of camps and villages given the availability of fresh water and fish. Some evidence of human activity may be under water given that the extent of the modern lake is the result of a modern dam. Nevertheless, the modern lake margins have a high probability of containing archaeological evidence of pre-contact sites. Subsurface testing would be needed to identify the presence of such sites.

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Frontier period (A.D. 1650-1805)

There is no documentary evidence that the project area was occupied during the frontier period. However, historical accounts and archaeological evidence are generally sparse for this period; those that exist indicate that the French were actively trading with Native allies in southwestern Michigan from the late 17th through the 18th centuries (Nassaney et al. 2003). Native American and European trappers may have visited the project area in their fur trading activities or while searching for a land route from Fort St. Joseph in Niles, Michigan to Detroit (Cremin and De Fant 1987:126).

Since the nearest documented fort was located some 70 miles to the southwest of the project area, occupation at the preserve during this time period would have been confined to small temporary camps associated with trapping rather than large seasonal occupations as seen in the previous period. The European trappers and Native Americans would have been attracted to the project area for many of the same reasons as prior to contact. Running water and a lake provide ample habitat for beaver and muskrats while the hardwood grove presently located south of Asylum Lake would have been an attractive habitat for white-tailed deer. Based on the size of the oaks and maples in this grove, we suspect that these same trees were present on the landscape after contact.

Evidence of fur trade era occupation in the project area has not yet been documented; it would likely consist of materials associated with short-term trapping and hunting expeditions away from nearby forts. Possible examples of material culture from this time period may include gun flints, musket balls, knives, trade beads and ornamental items such as tinkling cones. Any evidence of European and Native American trappers and traders in the project area would probably be located at the lake margins where animals would have been harvested or on the flat areas south of the lake and stream, as these would have provided good sites for camping.

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Early American period (1805-1887)

The territorial government of Michigan began active operation on July 2, 1805 when General William Hull was appointed governor. Jurisdiction of the territory at this time included present day Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, including the preserve. In 1831, Phineus Hunt purchased 324 acres from the Territory of Michigan’s Kalamazoo district land office (Durant 1993). This purchase included the SW 1/4 and E 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of section 30 in T2S, R11W and also the W 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of section 25 in T2S, R12W minus 20 acres in the NW corner of the section 25 property. This marks the first documented ownership of what would later become the project area.

Also during the early 1830s, Kalamazoo County’s first African-American settlers arrived. In 1831 Enoch and Deborah Harris purchased land and began farming west of the preserve. A state historical marker commemorates these pioneers in Oshtemo Township. Archaeological evidence of activities associated with the Harris’s homestead may still exist on the landscape today.

Hunt’s farming operation would prove to be short lived. He sold the land in 1835 to Neil Hindes, a pioneer who was born in Elizabeth, NJ on June 21, 1798 (Durant 1993). When the transaction occurred, the property had been partly timbered and included Hunt’s log cabin (Durant 1993). On August 22, 1874, Neil Hindes died after thirty-nine years of farming this parcel of land. During these years, the property had been improved through timbering and the addition of a house and outbuildings. Orchards had been planted and fields were cleared. Neil Hindes and his wife raised 11 children, eight of whom were born on their Michigan farmstead. Since Mrs. Hindes had died some years earlier, the Hindes’ oldest daughter Margaret S. (married to Charles E. Smith) inherited the property at the time of her father’s death in 1874 (Durant 1993).

The inclusion of items such as cows and hay in the 1887 land transaction (see below) indicates that the Hindes would have minimally needed a barn for milking and storing hay, machinery to harvest the hay and a place to store equipment and surplus harvest. The Board of Trustees Report from 1888 indicates that fruit was harvested from the orchard in the first year of the Colony Farm operation. Since fruit trees normally take several years to mature and produce a crop, it is clear that Neil Hindes had already planted the orchard and had been harvesting the fruit. These endeavors would also require equipment and storage facilities on the property.

Documentary evidence indicates that the Hindes house was located west of present day Drake Road in the southeastern portion of the Colony Farm Orchard property. Typical outbuildings and features that may have been associated with the Hindes farm would have included a barn, tool shed, silo, cistern and privy or outhouse. The number of additional structures built by Neil Hindes on the property is not known, however many of them were probably located in proximity to the farmhouse (see Sayers and Nassaney 1999).

Archaeological evidence for the Neil Hindes occupation on the preserve might be found near the southern portions of the Colony Farm Orchard property between the shed currently utilized by WMU’s Department of Geosciences and Drake Road (Figure 5). Luckily, the expansion of Drake Road during the summer of 2000 added another lane to the east of the existing road and probably had limited impact on potential archaeological materials from the farm during this time period. Additions to the property by the Colony Farm operation may have disturbed or masked potential archaeological materials from the Hindes’ occupation of the farm. However, foundations of structures that pre-date Colony Farm may still exist, along with features such as cisterns, trash middens and privies that were used by the Hindes family and later by residents of the Colony Farm.

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Institutional period (1887-1969)

In the 1880s, the landscape of the project area began to take on an entirely different appearance. The genesis of these changes lay in the ideas of health reform for the mentally ill advocated by Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride and Dorothea Dix in the 1840s. In his influential 1854 publication, "On the Construction, Organization and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane with Some Remarks on Insanity and Its Treatment," Kirkbride created a blueprint for the spatial organization and living conditions of mental hospitals that was adopted throughout the country. Under the so-called “Kirkbride Plan,” the superintendent of the Pennsylvania Hospital championed progressive therapies and a humane and compassionate environment for the insane. At the same time, Dorothea Dix, a New England native, traveled across the country attempting to convince state legislatures to construct public asylums where the mentally ill could receive therapy and live in reasonable comfort.

aerial map showing the location of the Neil Hides farmhouse

Figure 5. Location of the Neil Hindes farmhouse and Colony Farm property in 1887.

The state of Michigan heeded their admonitions when they established the Michigan Asylum for the Insane (later to be called the Kalamazoo State Hospital) in 1857. The main building was constructed according to the innovative principles of hospital design and management that marked the Kirkbride Plan. The hospital remains a prominent feature on the cultural landscape of Kalamazoo to the present. Its large water tower, which supplied the grounds of the hospital proper, serves as an icon of Kalamazoo’s past that can be seen from many miles away. Various parts of the Kalamazoo State Hospital are either listed on, or considered eligible for, the National Register of Historic Places (Barbara Mead, personal communication, 2004). The previously mentioned water tower as well as the State Hospital Gatehouse are listed on the National Register, whereas the Main Hospital and Administrative Complex (Buildings 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4), the Occupational Therapy Building (Building 23) and the Children’s Unit (Building 7) are considered eligible by the Office of Historic Preservation’s staff.

In addition to adopting Kirkbride’s design principles, the hospital’s board of trustees also experimented with therapeutic work opportunities for their patients. The most enduring venture was the Colony Farm located several miles from the hospital. On the June 11, 1887, Margaret S. Smith, eldest daughter of Neil Hindes, sold her 324-acre property to the state of Michigan for the sum of $18,000. Accompanying the land in the sale were all buildings including a house and barn. Other inclusions of the 1887 sale were standing hay and livestock, which amounted to three short horn cows, two calves and four Holstein cows. At the time of the purchase, the Kalamazoo State Hospital acquired a complete working farm including implements and livestock.

The Colony Farm was intended to be a place where able patients could perform therapeutic labor. In 1887 the Board of Trustees reported favorably on their earlier farm experiment that provided patients with a healthy environment in which to spend their days and the physical and mental health benefits afforded by activities associated with farm life (Report of the Board of Trustees 1887). The Kalamazoo State Hospital introduced the idea of rehabilitating patients in productive activities at the Brook Farm, which was located approximately two miles north of the asylum in Kalamazoo along Douglas Street. This type of rehabilitation was likely stimulated by Kirkbride’s progressive ideas for treatment. More than two decades earlier, Kirkbride had visited the Worchester State Hospital in Massachusetts where he observed patients working outdoors in gardens and being encouraged to walk about the grounds as a component of their therapy (Kirkbride 1854). At Brook Farm the Kalamazoo State Hospital kept a herd of Holstein cows which supplied milk for its patients and staff. The Board of Trustees believed that the farm provided patients with a healthy environment in which to spend their days and the labor associated with farm life increased their overall physical and mental well being (Report of the Board of Trustees 1887). The State Mental Hospital administrators not only saw the benefits from the Brook Farm experiment in terms of improved patient health, but also economic benefits through the agricultural surplus produced on the farm. According to Louisell, patients were not remunerated for their labor.

The success of the small Brook Farm operation prompted the Kalamazoo State Hospital to expand upon the idea. When they purchased the Hindes farm in 1887, they sought a property that came with all of the necessary livestock and equipment for the institution to begin farming operations immediately. The acreage was slightly expanded in October of 1887 when the state of Michigan purchased small portions of the D.D. McMartin farm which bordered the former Hindes property and McMartin Lake (later changedto Asylum Lake) to the north (Report of the Board of Trustees 1887).

In the remainder of this section we discuss various aspects of Colony Farm and the archaeological evidence that may be associated with it today. First, we begin with a more detailed description of the built environment on the preserve during the institutional period. Then, we discuss the economic impacts of Colony Farm. Finally, we explore the daily conditions experienced by patients and hospital employees who lived and worked on the farm, particularly the types of activities that took place on the farm in addition to agricultural and domestic labor.

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The built environment

The facilities of Hindes farm in the summer of 1887 were well suited for the type of operation envisioned by the Kalamazoo State Hospital. However, additional buildings were needed to house the patients and staff that would work and live on the farm. The transformation of the Niel Hindes property from a single-family farm to a working extension of the Kalamazoo State Hospital would be implemented over a forty-year period.

The Hindes farmhouse was expanded during early fall of 1887 to accommodate patients and staff. Fifteen female patients and one attendant occupied this structure by late fall. The Hindes farmhouse (renamed Hindes Cottage based on Kirkbride’s terminology) was reported to house 20 male patients and two attendants by the fall of 1889 (Figure 6).

Construction of two additional facilities located closer to Asylum Lake began early in the spring of 1888. The buildings constructed on the Asylum Lake parcel were located within a

Hindes Cottage stands on a field surrounded by mature trees

Figure 6. Hindes Cottage in the early 20th century.

maturing oak savannah, with the northern portion of the forest overlooking the lake (Mark Hoffman, personal communication, 2005). Van Deusen Cottage, renamed Grosvenor Cottage by 1916, was the first new structure to be built on the Colony Farm property for the purpose of housing patients and was completed by the fall of 1888 (Figure 7). It was a two-story brick building that included an attic and basement with brick partition walls. This structure had the capacity to accommodate 50 male patients on the second floor. The first floor of Van Deusen Cottage consisted of sitting rooms, a hallway, a stairway and a room for one attendant. At the rear of the first floor were several utility areas including a dining room, kitchen, pantry, laundry, lavatory, bath and clothes-room (Report of the Board of Trustees 1889-90).

Van Deusen Cottage

Figure 7. Van Deusen Cottage in the early 20th century.

Staircases to the second floor were located at the front and rear of the building in case of fire. The second story included sleeping rooms for patients and attendants, which were divided into two large and two small dormitories as well as several single rooms and a water-closet (Report of the Board of Trustees 1888). The basement had a cement floor and housed the boiler.

Palmer Cottage, a sister residence to Van Deusen Cottage, was completed in the fall of 1889 to accommodate 80 female patients (Figure 8). The cottage was built of brick with brick partition walls and contained heating and ventilating flues. The first floor included two sitting rooms, an attendant’s room, the elderly ladies’ dormitory, a dining room, a hallway and a stairway. The first floor also contained a kitchen, pantry, storeroom, laundry, clothes-room, bathroom and water closet, while the second and third floors were devoted to housing attendants and patients (Report of the Board of Trustees 1889-90). A few rooms at the south end of the building were designated for the sick and others requiring special care. Palmer Cottage, like Van Deusen Cottage, was also heated by steam. The boiler and radiating surfaces were located in the basement (Report of the Board of Trustees 1889-90).

Palmer Cottage

Figure 8. Palmer Cottage in the early 20th century.

The remodeling of the Neil Hindes farmhouse and construction of Van Deusen and Palmer cottages brought the patient capacity at Colony Farm up to 100 males and 80 females by the fall of 1889. In addition to patients and attendants, a few farmhands, employed by the State Hospital, resided in Hindes Cottage to assist with chores and provide skilled labor for general farming operations (Report of the Board of Trustees 1889).

Colony Farm was deemed to be an overwhelming success by the state board of trustees. Over the next few years, the board lobbied the state legislature for monetary appropriations for continued construction and maintenance of buildings. By 1892, two additional brick residences, Mitchell and Pratt cottages, were completed. Mitchell Cottage was a three-story structure that housed 75 female patients and was built a few hundred yards to the southwest of Palmer Cottage on the Asylum Lake parcel (Figure 9). It was also the first residence to have electricity.

Mitchell Cottage

Figure 9. Mitchell Cottage in the early 20th century.

Pratt Cottage was constructed on the Colony Farm Orchard parcel between Hindes Cottage and what is now Drake Road. Pratt Cottage, the first new residence to be constructed on the property west of Drake Road (formerly called Colony Farm Road), could accommodate 67 male patients and their attendants as well as a few farmhands (Report of the Board of Trustees 1895-6). Pratt Cottage was a sister residence to Mitchell and was similarly constructed of brick with three-stories and electricity (Figure 10).

Following a fire in 1930, Pratt Cottage was rebuilt and enlarged. The 3-story addition to the eastern portion of the structure was 175 by 42 feet and contained 43 rooms. The 1930 remodeled Pratt Cottage could hold 120 male patients in addition to the 80 beds from the original 1892 Pratt structure.

Pratt Cottage

Figure 10. Pratt Cottage prior to 1930 remodeling.

In 1895, 35 years before the Pratt Cottage was expanded, the board of trustees reported that the 246 patients residing at Colony Farm were a sufficiently large number to warrant a house for the assistant physician and his family. Prior to this time, the on-site physician and family were living in a portion of the Van Deusen Cottage. The physician’s quarters were erected in 1897 between Palmer Cottage and Mitchell Cottage and the residence was named Fair Oaks Cottage (Figure 11).

By 1894, the five cottages (Hindes, Van Deusen, Palmer, Mitchell and Pratt) were in need of a new sewer system. The previous system of allowing sewage to flow into receiving tanks and retrieving it in barrels was abandoned and the cottages were fitted with a new system known as the intermittent sub-surface method:

Fair Oaks Cottage

Figure 11. Fair Oaks Cottage in the early 20th century.

Sewer pipes were laid from each of the cottages and joining the main sewer the waste is carried a quarter of a mile away into a receiving tank. This is divided into two compartments from the larger of which the sewerage is emptied periodically by a siphon and carried to a distributing field of sand. Through this it is evenly distributed by means of tiles about six inches below the ground with open spaces at the ends (Report of the Board of Trustees 1894: 46)

The sewage treatment facility was located at the far northeast corner of the property just south of Asylum Lake (Figure 12). It is unknown where the “distributing field of sand” was located. This new treatment system alleviated the sanitation problem of standing sewage at each of the cottages.

Colony Farm

Figure 12. Locations of Colony Farm buildings in 1900.

A proper fresh water system was also installed in 1894 near Pratt Cottage where a six-inch pipe was driven 90 feet down to an abundant water supply. Electricity from the main asylum was used to pump the water into a tank previously constructed for water storage in Pratt Cottage. From this point, a service pipe was laid to each of the other cottages supplying the entire complex with fresh water (Report of the Board of Trustees 1894: 46). This electric pump took the place of previous systems that required individual tanks located at each structure to be filled by wind driven pumps. The water system was modified in 1903 when a water tower was constructed to the north of Pratt Cottage and pump houses were built near the lake and Van Deusen Cottage. These pumps carried water to the tower that, in turn, provided water pressure to the rest of the complex through a series of pipes running to each residence from the water tower. The extent to which the well at Pratt Cottage was used following the construction of the water tower is unclear; however, it is conceivable that this continued to supply fresh ground water to the tower.

With the increased traffic on the property and added improvements, paved drives with gutters were constructed to remaining cottages that lacked vehicular access. All of these turn-of-the-century enhancements (i.e., sewage treatment, fresh water system and improved roads) were made to improve “the appearance of the colony park” and the quality of life at Colony Farm (Report of the Board of Trustees 1894:46).

A barn was constructed around 1895 for horses, farm equipment, surplus hay and surplus grain. This structure was built west of Colony Farm Road (Drake Road) and north of Hindes Cottage. The A-frame structure was 66 feet wide by 88 feet long with walls of stone and a slate roof (Report of the Board of Trustees 1895-6). In general, the farming operation included barns and outbuildings that were clustered near the former Neil Hindes house (see Figure 12). Later in 1901, the cow barn located north of the 1895 A-frame barn was renovated and new cement floors were added. Furthermore, “stanchions and mangers were put in and drainage provided for all liquids to large cisterns erected outside the barns from which it is taken to be spread on fields of growing crops” (Report of the Board of Trustees 1901-2:8). An additional maternity barn for birthing calves was built near the milking barn. Cellars for the storage of winter feed for the cattle were constructed near this structure.

In 1909 the Michigan Asylum for the Insane was renamed the Kalamazoo State Hospital. The following year a major addition to Colony Farm was completed. Known as the Rich Building, this three-story structure measured 44 x 104’ and housed a general heating plant, laundry, workroom and bathroom in the basement (Figure 13). The first floor included a general kitchen and communal dining room while the second and third floors served as women’s residences and nurses’ sleeping rooms. This building, also called the Rich Cottage, was designed to facilitate and economize service and to increase quarters for female patients and nurses. The structure was also built such that the kitchens and dining rooms could be converted into room for 50 more beds if needed (Report of the Board of Trustees 1910). This cottage provided much needed utility space, improved heating for the operation and further increased the capacity for female patients and employees on the premises.

The 1930s mark the beginning of the Colony Farm’s heyday. At this time, six residences stood on the property (Hindes, Grosvenor, Palmer, Mitchell, Pratt and Rich cottages) in addition to the physician’s residence (Fair Oaks Cottage). The sewage treatment facility was the most easterly structure located on the property. Outbuildings for farming purposes included the large 1890s A-frame barn (Horse Barn in Figure 10), a bull barn, dairy barn, maternity barn, hay barn, hen house, hog house, wood house and several sheds to accommodate farming implements and

aerial map of asylum lake showing parcels

Figure 13. Locations of Colony Farm buildings in 1930.


tools. All of these farming structures were built to the west of Colony Farm Road (also 12th Street at this time and later Drake Road). They provided easy access to the nearby orchards to the north, the fields located on the Asylum Lake parcel to the east and the newly acquired Kiltz property to the south of Parkview. The 240-acre H. A. Kiltz farm was purchased for $28,992.70 by the state of Michigan in 1930 and this property greatly increased the land used for fields and pasture. The Kiltz farm purchase also included the 1850s Gibbs house and associated outbuildings.

Other than the addition of a few small outbuildings and sheds for farming purposes, no new construction was initiated in the preserve until 1953 when a new heating plant was completed southwest of Mitchell Cottage to supply steam heat to all the buildings (Figure 14). This new plant could operate on either gas or oil and greatly increased the cottages’ heating efficiency (Annual Reports 1953-4). Additionally, underground access tunnels large enough to accommodate foot traffic were built at the same time as the heating plant, connecting Grosvenor, Rich, Mitchell and Palmer cottages. The tunnels were constructed of reinforced concrete and were approximately six and a half feet tall and five feet wide with access to the basement of each connecting residence. The Board of Trustees Report (1953) documents the construction of these tunnels, though their exact purpose is not stated. They may have allowed the staff access between buildings in inclement weather. At least one of the tunnels was designated as a licensed fallout shelter in 1964 (Lorentz 1964).

The construction efforts on the preserve property during the Institutional Phase came to a halt in 1953. Documentary resources do not indicate the construction of additional buildings of any sort (e.g., residences, barns, sheds) after this date.

Colony Farm

Figure 14. Locations of Colony Farm buildings in 1953.

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Economic activities

Although the primary purpose of Colony Farm was to provide better accommodations for the mentally ill, an ancillary benefit was the economic contribution that patients could make to their own welfare and maintenance by working on the farm. An occupied bed at the main institution in the late 1800s cost the taxpayer $1000, whereas an occupied bed at Colony Farm only cost $300 per year (Report of the Board of Trustees 1889). The operations at Colony Farm reduced the cost of caring for the mentally ill in Michigan by providing subsistence goods for patients and employees that did not need to be purchased. The farm also offered an improved living situation through which patients could test their readiness for a return to the ordinary affairs of the outside world (Kalamazoo Gazette 7/10/30). Patients provided free agricultural labor.

Fruits, grains, vegetables and milk were among the goods produced on the farm. The spring strawberry harvest of 1888 yielded 775 quarts and fall fruits for the year included 182.5 bushels and 44 barrelsof apples, 26 quarts of cherries, 4 bushels of plums and 11 quarts of raspberries. In addition to fruits, 163.5 tons of hay, 1,280 bushels of oats, 2,428 bushels of corn and 312 bushels of potatoes were harvested that first year (Report of the Board of Trustees 1888). Some garden vegetables were also grown during this planting season yielding a few bushels of beans, cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes and turnips. A similar assortment of fruits and vegetables were harvested from Colony Farm through the end of the 19th century with the addition of a vineyard in the early 1900s (Annual Reports 1953).

Livestock on the premises included cattle, hogs, turkeys, chickens and ducks; horses provided traction and transportation. Produce from livestock and poultry, in addition to many of the fruit crops, supplemented the hospital’s pantries and were used to feed patients and employees. Surplus crops were sold at local markets for a profit, helping to further reduce the costs of operation. However, records indicate that less than 20 percent of the farm’s annual fruit harvest and dairy products were sold for a profit.

The farming operation continued to supplement the needs of the asylum proper until the 1950s. In 1958, the dairy herds at Brook Farm were sold because it became more economical to buy milk than to produce it. The few remaining cattle were relocated to Colony Farm, but milk production for consumption at the institution soon ceased. Increased efficiency in the production of commercial goods made it difficult for the farm to compete in the market.

Fruit and grain crop production also declined throughout the 1950s and led to small harvests by the end of this decade. In 1963, Dr. Angus J. Howitt from the Michigan State University Department of Entomology began actively using the Colony Farm orchard to the west of Drake Road for experimental research. The farming operation was terminated in 1966 and the remainder of the dairy herd was sold (Massie 1991).

Evidence for the intensive farming practices that took place on the farm is still apparent in the project area. Remnants of the orchard exist on the property and the vineyard appears in the 1960 aerial photo from the Portage Public Library. The vineyard was located south of Pratt Cottage. The 1960 aerial photograph also shows many rows of fruit trees in the central portion of the Colony Farm Orchard parcel.

A wide variety of farm implements used from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s may remain on the property. The potential exists to recover tools and equipment that relate to changes in farming practices and techniques over an eighty year period that began with horse and ox drawn plows and haying machinery up through the use of gas-powered tractors and harvesters. These types of artifacts would indicate daily labor practices on the farm and could be compared with general agricultural patterns in southwest Michigan for nearly a century.

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Social environment

The board of trustees for the Kalamazoo State Hospital had a clear vision of the social environment of Colony Farm from its inception. As stated in the 1889 annual report, the facilities were meant to give the appearance of a “summer watering place with persons seen sitting upon the capacious porches, without apparent oversight, were summer resorters, rather than patients suffering from mental disease” (Report of the Board of Trustees 1889-90: 64). The farm was not intended to appear as an extension of the insane asylum, but instead was meant to project a relaxed, comfortable, resort-like atmosphere (Figure 15).

Lake view from Van Duesen Cottage

Figure 15. Lake view from Van Deusen Cottage.

The health reforms associated with new building designs and living spaces were adopted to benefit the patients by providing work activities and a relaxed environment that would assist in their rehabilitation (Figure 16). The 1888 board of trustees’ annual report noted that the patients began gaining weight and lost the “listless, dispirited expressions many of them wore on the wards” (p. 60). Many patients clearly experienced mental health improvements (Report of the Board of Trustees 1888: 60). The trustees’ reports also indicate that the patients enjoyed the experiences at the farm and wished not to return to the asylum to reside. In one 1888 case, a woman was removed from the farm due to a mental disturbance and later returned to the farm at her own request prior to being released from the institution (Report of the Board of Trustees 1888: 60).

Woman outside Mitchell Cottage

Figure 16. Woman walking toward the Mitchell Cottage. Photograph probably taken in the early 20th century.

The social environment was purposefully created through the selection and arrangement of living and working spaces on the property. Elements of the design likely derive from Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride’s prescriptions, which include a blueprint for the spatial organization and living conditions of mental hospitals that was subsequently adopted in many parts of the country (Kirkbride 1854). He was also an advocate for progressive therapies and a humane and compassionate environment for patients. In addition to adopting Kirkbride’s design principles for the main hospital buildings on Oakland Drive, the hospital’s board of trustees also experimented with therapeutic work opportunities for their patients at Colony Farm. The agricultural working area of the farm was located around the Neil Hindes’s old residence and men were housed in the nearby Hindes and Pratt cottages. In 1889, Pratt Cottage was the only reported residence to have housing set aside for hired farm hands. This spatial layout segregated farming activities from the tranquility of the cottages that were visible from the Michigan Central Railroad that ran along the northern side of Asylum Lake. Moreover, Palmer and Van Deusen (Grosvenour) cottages were conspicuously placed on the hills overlooking the lake. These structures were poignant symbols of the progressive health reform ideology that the Board of Trustees sought to promote. Thus, the organization of space and design in the preserve provided symbolic messages that reinforced the health care efforts of the institution and helped to project a favorable public image (Figure 17). Referring to these residences as “cottages” also reinforced this message.

The image of the cottages also extended to interior design and furnishings that were intended to provide a level of comfort and refinement for the patients. The Board of Trustees reported on the cottages’ interior in great detail, perhaps to demonstrate how closely they were in accordance with the ideals that Kirkbride had espoused. Van Deusen Cottage, for instance, was finished in varnished Georgia pine in the front interior and the rear interior was done with

Hilltop Cottages

Figure 17. Hilltop cottages (left to right: Palmer, Fair Oaks, Mitchell).

varnished and oiled oak and whitewood. Grated fireplaces, chimneys and ventilating flues were present in each dormitory and windows were constructed to admit sunlight. The ventilating flues were built into the brick walls starting at the floor level and were discharged “into galvanized sheet-iron cylinders in the attic,” which connected “with large central trunk flues” (Report of the Board of Trustees 1888:61). These central flues passed through the roof, discharged into the air and were attached to Emerson ventilators. Heat was provided through indirect radiation from radiators known as “Gold Patent,” which were fastened onto the basement walls with wrought iron fixtures below the flue openings. These radiators were sheltered in galvanized sheet iron hoods (Report of the Board of Trustees 1888: 61). Windows in the basement allowed for air to supply the radiators, after which air was forced into the flues within the walls and then expelled into rooms through openings near the ceilings (Report of the Board of Trustees 1888). The elaborate heating system in this and other cottages provided the residents with a safe and comfortable setting. Windows were present in each dormitory to allow patients access to fresh air and sunlight even if they were required to stay in bed (Figure 18).

People near Van Deusen Cottage

Figure 18. People seated on a bench near Van Deusen Cottage. Large windows allowed sunlight into the 2nd floor dormitories.

Palmer Cottage was also lavishly finished. The floors were oak and the interior finish was yellow pine. The rooms were “neatly carpeted and furnished” and the beds were decorated with “immaculate white counterpanes and pillow shams,” which were the handiwork of ladies of the institution (Kalamazoo Gazette). In addition, each room included a fireplace. According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, when Palmer Cottage was opened on Saturday, November 30, 1889, several patients from the institution visited the new cottage. The article also reported “a brief musical program was given in the reception hall, including instrumental solos and duets” as well as “several selections by the asylum’s male quartet” (Kalamazoo Gazette). The musical performance that accompanied the opening of this new facility and its many comforts indicates a concern for the quality of life for patients at the Colony Farm.

Mitchell Cottage housed 75 female patients who were of the “chronic, quiet or demented classes” and their attendants (Report of the Board of Trustees 1895-6: 6). The windows on the second and third floors were protected by light wire guards and the open door policy used in the other cottages was absent as the outside doors in this residence were locked. Though it is not clear why Mitchell Cottage was chosen to house patients with severe illnesses or violent tendencies, hence requiring greater security, its exterior projected the same resort-like appearance as the other cottages (see Figure 16).

Following the 1930 fire in Pratt Cottage, a new addition was built onto the eastern portion of the existing building. It was made of fireproof construction materials with walls and floors of brick and a roof of stone and steel (Kalamazoo Gazette). It was described as “a thoroughly modern hospital type of building, completely fireproof and equipped with all modern conveniences” (Kalamazoo Gazette).

The physician’s residence (Fair Oaks Cottage) was a two-story brick building with a basement; it was heated by a hot water system similar to those installed in the other residences (Figure 19). This house was described as having “the comforts and conveniences necessary for modern living and is specially adapted for the purpose for which constructed” (Report of the Board of Trustees 1897-8:8). The construction of this fully modern home on the property marks the presence of a full-time, permanent, resident physician at Colony Farm, further contributing to the quality and frequency of medical care that patients received.

Fair Oaks Cottage

Figure 19. Fair Oaks Cottage with Palmer Cottage in the background.

Cement walkways were also built during the construction of Fair Oaks Cottage to connect the physician’s residence with Palmer, Mitchell and Van Deusen cottages, once again promoting a sense of gentility on the eastern portion of the property.

In 1957, the eight-acre tract of land on the southwest corner of the Stadium Drive and Drake Road intersection returned to private hands when the Kalamazoo State Hospital declared it surplus (Hoffman 2004). The state sold the property to Warren Frost, where he built a mobile home park. In 1969, the Colony Farm portion of the Kalamazoo State Hospital was closed. All the remaining residents of the Farm were relocated to the main hospital grounds located on Oakland Drive or to the hospital’s tuberculosis sanitarium on the north side of Kalamazoo (Massie 1991). An auction was held in 1971 at Colony Farm to liquidate assets such as furniture, farm equipment and appliances that were no longer needed. It was reportedly the first time the state of Michigan had auctioned furniture (Kalamazoo Gazette). The auction occurred on January 16 beginning with the contents of Pratt Cottage followed by Rich, Palmer, Grosvenor and Mitchell cottages.

The objects auctioned hint at the quality of the interior decor of the cottages. Items listed for auction included: walnut dressers with marble tops and beveled glass mirrors, platform-bottom chairs, sewing rockers, oak commode stands, full-length solid cherry wardrobes, small oak tables and spindle-spool legged chairs (Kalamazoo Gazette). Such furnishings stand in stark contrast to the simple wooden tables, chairs and bureaus in the boardinghouses occupied by the working class in Lowell, Massachusetts in the early 20th century. One former boardinghouse resident in Lowell recalled that there wasn’t much furniture and most of it was plain wood (Mrozowski et al. 1996:51-52). The Board of Trustees Reports convey the idea that the cottages themselves were built to look and feel like a summer resort and the furnishings inside these buildings, as seen by the listing for the 1971 auction, show the same attention to comfortable living (Report of the Board of Trustees 1889-90: 64).

The archaeological remains of everyday items provide the potential to explore the social conditions at Colony Farm. Bowls, dishes, clothing, shoes and other artifacts can illuminate the identities of the people who lived and worked at the farm. Discarded objects may reveal the different experiences of individuals, based on their position within the institution and the types of activities that they carried out on the property. Archaeological methods can be employed to recover material remains such as ceramics, objects of personal adornment, food remains and their spatial distributions to examine daily life at the farm. Gender issues are another venue open to archaeological investigation. Male patients may have been required to do different work than female patients. Frequencies, locations and concentrations of items such as belt buckles, adornments, hair pins and other everyday items may support the documentary evidence that males and females were living and possible working, separately on the property. Farmhands may have made different consumer choices than the resident physician, though both were resident employees of the institution. Items associated with the Fair Oaks Cottage may reflect the higher social status of its residents in comparison to those associated with the farmhands living in Pratt Cottage. These and other material remains may give us clues as to what life was like for the people who lived and worked on the farm and for general social trends in turn-of-the-century Kalamazoo.

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University period (1969-present)

In 1971 most of the buildings in the project area, except for the sheet metal hay barn located west of Drake Road, were demolished. In 1975 ownership of the Colony Farms property was transferred from the state of Michigan to Western Michigan University. WMU began leasing the land east of Drake Road and north of Parkview Avenue to local farmers for agricultural use in 1976 and the barn was made available for storage. The Bridge Company from the 6th Engineer Support unit, USMCR stationed in Battle Creek, Michigan completed demolition of the underground access tunnels and water tower on the property on May 6, 1978. The Michigan State University entomology and agricultural extension research at the Colony Farms Orchard continued into the 1980s (Massie 1991). In 1991, a long-term hydrology project was initiated on the property sponsored jointly by the WMU Department of Geosciences and Kalamazoo Valley Community College to determine the impact that continued dumping of leaves by the city of Kalamazoo had on groundwater. Several well points were installed to monitor this activity. The project was cut short and lasted for only one year; however, the well points remain in place.

In 1994, WMU stopped leasing the land for agriculture and the property was set aside for research, education and recreational purposes. Local controversy over the preserve arose when Drake Road was expanded to the east and construction began on the WMU Business and Technology Park and College of Engineering located on the former Kiltz farm south of Parkview Avenue in 2001. Currently, the remaining 328 acres formerly known as Colony Farm and having once belonged to Neil Hindes, herein called the preserve, continue to be set aside for research, education and recreational uses.

In 1998, WMU and the City of Kalamazoo, as part of the overall plan for developing and locating Western Michigan University’s College of Engineering and Paper & Printing Science Research facility in the Business, Technology and Research Park, agreed to create an endowment for the preservation and conservation of the preserve and to create protective covenants. The Kalamazoo Community Foundation established the Asylum Lake Preservation Fund for the purpose of permanently protecting the preserve for passive public recreational use. In 2004 the WMU Board of Trustees adopted a Declaration of Conservation Restrictions, which created the Policy and Management Council of the Asylum Lake Preserve. The purpose of the council is to ensure that the provisions of the Declaration of Conservation are faithfully observed and a procedure for regular oversight of the preserve is established and implemented. The conservation purposes of the preserve include efforts to promote ecosystem integrity and natural aesthetics, ensure passive recreation and support research and education.

Western Michigan University has done little to the preserve that would leave an archaeological signature, though some recent activities have disturbed archaeological deposits. For example, backhoe excavations into one of the dumps to explore its contents and determine its vertical and horizontal extent for environmental purposes have negatively impacted the archaeological record. The Department of Geosciences has placed many wellheads on the property; however, these are obviously modern in design and are likely to have little impact on the archaeological potential of the property. The Departments of Anthropology and Geosciences have established a geophysical test site in the project area. Various metal objects as well as features such as a brick wall and a fire hearth have been buried to simulate archaeological deposits. The site is regularly surveyed with a suite of prospecting techniques for educational purposes and to provide comparative data in the evaluation of anomalies at other archaeological sites.

According to Mark Hoffman (personal communication, 2005), other recent impacts include the removal of a pump house on the property. Finally, two concrete chambers associated with irrigation pipes in the area that is now prairie were removed and filled in within the past five years. None of these features are likely to be of archaeological interest.

In sum, this chapter presents information on the history of land-use practices based predominantly on documentary resources. The discussion of changes in land-use patterns and their potential to leave archaeological evidence has proceeded chronologically using a temporal framework as a heuristic device. There is a long history of human activity in the project area and likely substantial material remains. Of course, this assessment cannot hope to identify all traces of past human activity in the project area. As a supplement to the background research, a pedestrian survey was employed to locate and identify material remains on the surface of the property that may have archaeological significance. The following chapter details the methodology and results of the pedestrian survey conducted by WMU volunteers and staff.

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Chapter 3

Methodology and results

The background research conducted for this archaeological assessment indicates that the Asylum Lake property has sustained a long history of land use beginning in ancient times through the development and abandonment of the Colony Farm in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Past human activities in the project area surely left archaeological traces, some that may be relatively undisturbed and consequently of historical significance. One non-intrusive way to identify potentially significant archaeological evidence on the ground surface is through a pedestrian or walkover survey. In an archaeological assessment, such a survey can be used in conjunction with the background research to determine an area’s archaeological sensitivity, i.e., the probability that archaeological materials are present. No subsurface testing (i.e., excavation) was conducted in this archaeological assessment; thus, all archaeological evidence in the project area has not been identified. A pedestrian survey is only the first step in attempting to locate significant archaeological materials in the project area. In this chapter we discuss the methodology and results of the pedestrian survey.

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We conducted a pedestrian, or walkover, survey of the project area in late March and early April 2004 when conditions afforded optimal visibility due to the absence of leaves on the trees and thick brush that may obscure the ground surface. An archaeological pedestrian survey consists of systematically walking over a given area in search of cultural materials (e.g., bricks, ceramics) and potential features (e.g., foundations) that may be visible on the surface. Pin flags were used to mark locations where these materials were identified. GPS coordinates, material types and other observations were recorded for every cultural object encountered during the survey.

The project area is sufficiently large, covering approximately 70 hectare (173 acres), to warrant an arbitrary division into three smaller parcels designated Areas 1-3 (Figure 20).

Pedestrian Survey Map

Figure 20. Pedestrian survey areas and numerical designations.

Area 1 was the largest parcel encompassing approximately 35 hectarea (86.5 acres). It is the easternmost portion of the Asylum Lake property and includes most of the land south of Asylum Lake and north of Parkview Avenue. This area is bounded on the east by a small drainage that flows from the eastern end of the lake toward Parkview Avenue to the south. The western boundary is an arbitrary north-south line drawn where the tree line intersects Cherry Lane, the present dirt road providing access to the property from Drake Road.

Area 2 is located immediately west of Area 1 and extends from north of Cherry Lane to Asylum Lake. It is bounded on the west by Drake Road. This area encompasses approximately 15 hectare (37 acres) and is the smallest of the three survey areas. Area 2 was selected for survey due to the known historic trash dump located in a gully at the tree line near the lake and for its high potential to yield Native American artifacts due to its proximity to Asylum Lake. The large area of low topographic relief just south of the lake also would have been suitable for a camp or seasonal settlement.

The large field immediately south of Area 2 that was cultivated for over a century is now planted in prairie grass. This area was excluded from the pedestrian survey for two reasons. First, the background research indicated that the area had a low probability of containing archaeological materials because of its distance from a source of water and limited use for activities that would leave archaeological traces of life on Colony Farm. Second, no surface artifacts would be readily visible due to the tall, thick prairie grasses that have been planted in this field.

Survey Area 3 includes the Colony Farm Orchard parcel that lies west of Drake Road and east of Highway 131 and is located north of Parkview Avenue and south of a drainage that flows into Asylum Lake. This area includes approximately 20 hectare (49 acres) of land, but because the city of Kalamazoo has been dumping leaves here for several years, we were prevented from surveying approximately 4 ha in the southwestern portion. This survey area coincides with the location of the Neil Hindes residence as well as many, if not all, of the outbuildings that were associated with this farmstead.

All three areas were surveyed by volunteers who walked along north-south transects at 20 meter intervals. As they walked they examined the ground surface to identify evidence of past human activities such as the presence of artifacts (e.g., bricks, ceramics) or cultural landscape features (e.g., fence lines, foundations). The survey began in the southeastern corner of each of the three survey areas. During the survey, one archaeological technician was paired with one GPS personnel. This pairing allowed for the archaeological technician to flag and record a significant location while the GPS technician simultaneously collected and logged the UTM coordinates of the location. Close communication between the archaeological and GPS personnel allowed for consistency in the labeling and recording of artifacts on field survey forms, the GPS database and the photographic log (see Appendix A).

Four Trimble TSCI GPS units with backpack antennas were used during the survey. The WMU Landscape Services and the Department of Geography each provided two of these units. Each GPS unit was given a field number (numbers 1-4) and this served as the second number in a trinomial system for recording the results of the survey. The first number was the area being surveyed (Areas 1-3) and the third number was an ordinal numeral starting with 1. For example, the field number 1-2-35 would provide the information for the 35th point collected by GPS unit 2 in Area 1. Every surface find identified during the survey was recorded on a field survey form, collected as a GPS point and assigned an ordinal number according to this system. The numbering system allowed for quick and convenient manipulation of the data with Microsoft Access database software following the survey.

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Survey results

The pedestrian survey of the three areas resulted in the identification of 126 artifacts and features including cement foundations, fence lines, construction debris (cement and brick), ceramics, animal bone, bottles, glass, tiles, manholes, fire hydrants, stone walkways, metal implements, coal and even shoes. Of the 126 locations recorded, 20 represent fence lines, six are foundations, four are historic dumps and the rest are isolated artifact finds. All of the 126 identified artifacts and features found during the survey appear to post-date 1887 and mostly relate to the Colony Farm operation. Each find was assigned a rating of archaeological significance (see Appendix A) according to its potential to contribute to our understanding of spatial organization on the property, medical practices during this time period, gender issues at Colony Farm and everyday activities of the people living and working on the property. These ratings, in conjunction with relative densities of artifacts, also contribute to the archaeological sensitivity map presented in this report (see below).

The use of GIS software (ArchMap and Pathfinder) has allowed for the creation of images that show the concentration of cultural materials in all three Survey Areas (Figure 21).

Artifacts map

Figure 21. Locations of artifacts and features recorded during the pedestrian survey.

 A view of the survey results by area provides better resolution and allows for the field numbers to be displayed on the geographic information system image (Figures 22, 23 and 24).

Area 1 Pedestrian survey results

Figure 22. Pedestrian survey results for Area 1.

Area 1 contained many artifacts associated with structures such as concrete and brick scatters, in situ foundations and rubble piles. Many storm drains and manholes (both with and without covers) were identified in this area; these relate to the extensive drainage system that the Kalamazoo State Hospital installed at the Farm. In addition, fence lines, gates and the remains of roadways are still visible on the property and some have been incorporated into the public hiking trails that circle Asylum Lake. The high concentration of artifacts in the central wooded area corresponds with the many buildings that once housed patients there.

Area 2 pedestrian survey results

Figure 23. Pedestrian survey results for Area 2.

The survey results for Area 2 show a lower overall density of cultural remains than in Area 1. However, it should be noted that a significant number of artifacts were concentrated in a drainage channel or gully in the central portion of this area (Figure 23). This area served as a local dump for Colony Farm. Items in this dump stretch from the edge of the tree line near the field to the water’s edge and include various types of ceramics (e.g., cups, bowls, plates), glass containers (e.g., storage jars, medicinal bottles?), tiles, wire fencing, shingles, metal drums and metal implements. Many of these items can provide valuable information about daily life at Colony Farm. For example, temporally sensitive artifacts such as ceramics and glass can be used to establish the age of the dump. The contents of the dump can also be analyzed to determine the types of goods that were purchased, used and discarded on the farm; medicines that may have been administered; and the remains of foods that were consumed.

Although Area 3 was less intensively occupied when the farm was in operation, it also has a high potential to provide archaeological information concerning medical practices, diet and everyday activities of those patients and employees associated with the property during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Area 3 pedestrian survey results

Figure 24. Pedestrian survey results for Area 3.

According to documentary sources, Area 3 is known to have had the highest concentration of farm-related structures on the preserve; thus, this area has the greatest potential to contain cultural materials related to 19th and 20th century agricultural practices. We were able to identify some building foundations as associated with barns based on historic maps. However, the biggest surprise in this area was the high concentration and considerable variety of cultural materials, including animal bone, ceramics, metal tools and objects, fencing, coal and slag, especially in the northern portion of the area near the small stream that runs east into Asylum Lake. Although maps and historical documents did not indicate intensive activities in this area, material remains can provide land-use information that was unrecorded in the documents. In fact, a “hog barn” (see Figure 13) was the only documented cultural feature located north of the orchard. However, the slope break at the north end of Area 3 has at least three distinct historic trash dumps that contain materials similar to those identified in the dump located in Survey Area 2. All of the dumps in Area 3 appear to date to the institutional period and contain ceramics, glass bottles and other containers, animal bones and metal objects. Thus, archaeological evidence suggests a much more intensive use of the northern portions of Survey Area 3, even though the documentary record indicates it was used primarily for agricultural purposes.

Archaeological sensitivity

The results of the pedestrian survey and the documentary research allow us to partition the project area according to its archaeological sensitivity (Figure 25). Areas of low sensitivity have little potential to yield archaeological materials, whereas medium sensitivity areas have the potential for archaeological materials based on either the background research or the pedestrian survey. Areas of high sensitivity have a high potential for subsurface archaeological remains based on documentary sources and the pedestrian survey.

Archaeological sensitivity map

Figure 25. Archaeological sensitivity map.

Areas of low sensitivity are located along the southern edge of the project area near Parkview Avenue. This area coincides with the large field south of Survey Area 2 that was excluded from our pedestrian survey. Adjacent areas that were surveyed yielded very few archaeological materials on the surface.

Two areas of medium sensitivity have been identified. One is along the eastern portion of the project area. While we did observe some cultural materials here, artifact density was judged to be low and no building foundations were identified. The other area of medium sensitivity is located in the central portion of Survey Area 3. This area revealed a much lower artifact density than areas immediately to the north and south. This area, which exhibits the remains of an orchard that may date to the Neil Hindes occupation of the preserve (pre-1887), has the potential to yield some cultural materialsthat may also inform our understanding of 19th century farming practices through physical evidence of the size and spatial organization of the extant orchard.

Areas of high sensitivity on the map coincide with the confirmed presence of cultural materials or areas where documentary sources place former buildings or activity areas. High sensitivity areas include the western portion of Survey Area 1 and all of Survey Area 2, where we have encountered dense concentrations of artifacts and features associated with Colony Farm. These materials include foundation remnants, building materials and domestic goods such as ceramics, bone and bottle glass. Furthermore, these areas were not only significant during the institutional period, but also have the greatest potential to yield material evidence of Native American activities given their close proximity to Asylum Lake. Subsurface testing is needed to identify the presence of Native American activities in these locations.

The same is true of the area of high sensitivity identified in the northern portion of Survey Area 3. The area of low topographic relief just south of the stream would have been an ideal location for periodic encampment by Native Americans. The three historic dumps and the general density of artifacts in the northern portion of this area also increase its archaeological sensitivity. Because there is no documentary evidence for use of this portion of the property, information on activities in this area may only be obtainable through archaeology.

The area of high sensitivity in the southern portion of Survey Area 3 coincides with the location of the Hindes and Pratt cottages and the many outbuildings that date to the Institutional Period. Farming activities prior to 1887 were also concentrated in this area. A high density of artifacts was identified in this area during the pedestrian survey.

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The methodology employed during the walkover survey of the Asylum Lake and Colony Farm Orchard properties was designed to provide information concerning the potential for archaeological materials and indicate where these materials may be located. It should be stressed that this study is only an archaeological assessment of the project area. It is unlikely that all archaeological evidence in the preserve has been located. Furthermore, subsurface testing is needed in order to evaluate our preliminary results and identify archaeological evidence where none exists on the surface. The purpose of the assessment is to guide further work by suggesting areas that have a high probability of containing archaeological remains. Documentary sources indicate that there has been significant activity in the project area beginning in the 19th century. The environmental setting of the project also suggests that it would have been a favorable habitat for human activity at various times over the past 10,000 years. The pedestrian survey was successful in identifying archaeological materials on the surface of the project area in many locations.

Our survey work, together with the background research, have allowed us to stratify the project area according to its likelihood to yield archaeological materials that may contribute information about past human activities. More intensive survey methods will be needed to identify all material evidence of past human activity in the project area and determine the eligibility of these archaeological remains (sites) for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. These methods include the collection and analysis of archaeological materials and the determination of their vertical and horizontal extent. Suffice it to say that the project area contains archaeological evidence that has the potential to inform our historical understanding of a major Kalamazoo institution, as well as activities associated with the community’s pre-contact and early historic period.

This chapter has presented the methodology and results of the pedestrian survey that was conducted in the spring of 2004. The research provides data for an archaeological sensitivity map for the preserve, which identifies areas on the property where cultural materials are most likely to occur. In the next chapter we discuss the types of potential information that may be inferred from artifacts and features in the project area and make recommendations to assist in the management and preservation of these archaeological resources.

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Chapter 4

Conclusions and management recommendations

The purpose of this chapter is to present the conclusions of this study and our recommendations for management and preservation of archaeological resources in the project area. These recommendations will assist in the planning associated with educational, recreational and research uses of the project area in accordance with the policies being developed by the Asylum Lake Policy and Management Council.

As discussed in Chapter 3, an archaeological assessment is only the first step in a multi-stage program aimed at identifying and preserving archaeological resources. Toward this end we have conducted background research and a pedestrian survey to identify potentially significant archaeological evidence in the project area.

The study indicates that there have been intensive activities in the project area over the past 170 years and the area contains potentially significant material traces of those activities. The survey resulted in the identification of more than 120 artifacts, features and foundations, most of which are associated with Colony Farm. Ceramics, animal bone, bottles, window glass, metal implements, cement foundations, bricks, fire hydrants and even shoes were located during the survey. Of particular interest is the discovery of four major historic dumps, three of which had previously been unidentified.

Archaeologists can study the nature and distribution of archaeological materials to infer past human activities and compare their inferences with information obtained from documentary sources. For example, there is some evidence that the Kirkbride Plan influenced the design and spatial layout of Colony Farm. To what extent do the lived experiences of the patients conform to that plan as seen through the archaeological record of daily activities?

A broad range of issues related to diet, gender, health reform and progressive medical treatment can potentially be explored through the material remains in the project area. For example, artifacts related to diet, such as faunal remains, ceramics and utensils, may provide insight into general living conditions. The Board of Trustees reported that the farm produced agricultural and dairy surpluses to help supplement the hospital’s pantries. If the patients were the primary consumers of this surplus, we might expect to see limited quantities of containers that once held purchased food. If we are able to identify food remains associated with the patients, employees and doctors, they could be compared to see if they were similar or if the patients were given “special” diets. Animal bones can also indicate the cuts of meat that were consumed and suggest changes in dietary practices from the late 19th through 20th centuries.

Gender is another issue that can be examined. Archaeological study of gendered activities can suggest if middle class gender roles were being inculcated in men and women. The presence of female objects associated with dress and adornment in traditionally male work areas would suggest that male and female patients performed the same tasks. In contrast, separation of male and female artifacts would indicate a division of labor along gender lines. These patterns would suggest that patients were taught middle class ideals of domesticity. Alternatively, more integrated activities may suggest that patients mimicked the working class.

Another area that could be examined relates to the health reforms that characterized medicine in the late 19th century. Whereas medical treatments were recommended in the prescriptive literature, archaeological evidence can point to the types of medicine that were actually prescribed and consumed. Changes in these remedies can also be monitored and they could be compared with the way in which patients were treated at the asylum proper. Medicinal containers deposited in the dumps on the site examined in comparative perspective may illuminate these patterns.

Archaeological materials can also be used to assess the degree to which life behind the walls of the institution actually reflects the image that the institution sought to project. For example, the gentle appearance of capacious porches on a rolling hillside appears to be contradicted by the heavy, institutional ceramics found in one of the dumps, albeit with the seal of the state of Michigan (see the illustration on the cover). The presence of decorated ceramics such as transfer printed wares would challenge this idea. If the physician, his family and other employees who lived on the farm are found to have used matched ceramic sets, they may have been using ceramics in their dining practices to set themselves socially apart from the patients.

Finally, there are interesting parallels between state hospitals and other 19th century institutions such as factories, schools and prisons. To what extent did these institutions influence each other and how was each constructed given the constraints on the exercise of power for each “captive” population? In other words, what materials strategies were used to ensure compliance with behavioral ideals and how did patients resist? We may find evidence of various medical devices and remedies of the 19th and early 20th century that contradict the therapeutic measures that were reportedly used. These and many other questions may potentially be addressed as work on the property continues.

Based on our understanding of Native American land-use practices prior to contact, there is also the potential for evidence of ancient human activities in the project area. The most archaeologically sensitive areas include the low area of topographic relief immediately south of Asylum Lake in Survey Area 2 and a similar area located just south of the small stream that flows into Asylum Lake in the northern portion of Survey Area 3. The ground cover during the 2004 survey was too dense to locate Native American artifacts on the surface making it necessary to conduct additional survey to identify these types of remains. This would involve the excavation of small shovel test pits to detect subsurface artifacts (e.g., projectile points, chipping debris, pottery) and features (e.g., fire hearths, storage pits, post molds). The identification and subsequent evaluation of Native American sites would be necessary to determine their eligibility for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Listing on the register affords a site some protection against adverse impacts.

In addition to subsurface testing to locate archaeological deposits, continued archaeological work on the preserve would allow us to evaluate the materials that have already been identified. For example, it would be useful to determine the extent to which the material traces of the farm buildings and associated artifacts have been disturbed by the demolition activities of the 1970s. Further investigations could also help us determine if the artifact deposits in the dumps have the integrity needed to address questions about changes in daily life at the farm. Thus, further work is needed to discover materials related to pre-contact Native American activities and pioneer homesteading in the area and to evaluate the material record associated with Colony Farm.

In addition to the subsurface testing recommended above, we also suggest the use of geophysical prospecting techniques to help guide the archaeological investigations where appropriate. Geophysical survey is a noninvasive technique that can often provide information on buried cultural deposits. This work would represent an inter-disciplinary effort that could potentially lead to collaboration among departments at the University. By providing a site for field studies, research and community outreach, the preserve can continue to support and enhance the academic programs of WMU.

Western Michigan University has been a fortunate benefactor in acquiring the Asylum Lake property and projects such as this archaeological assessment serve to acknowledge the University’s responsibility to protect significant heritage resources. The cooperation between WMU’s Landscape Services, Department of Anthropology and Department of Geography has proven to be a successful formula for conducting research on University lands. Furthermore, this project can serve as a model for assessments that could be conducted on other University properties to ensure that the archaeological record of past human activities is taken into account in the long-term planning and growth of the institution. A similar assessment might be undertaken for the Kalamazoo State Hospital, which is currently owned by Western Michigan University. The University should respect the historical significance of this property in the history of the city of Kalamazoo; stewardship of this resource is part of the responsibility of ownership. The same could be said for East Campus and other University holdings where the archaeological record has the potential to contribute new understandings to local, regional and national history. That potential can only be determined if an archaeological assessment like this one is first conducted.

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Management summary and recommendations

  1. This project employed background research and a pedestrian survey to identify archaeological evidence of past human activities in the preserve.
  2. This information was used to partition the preserve into areas of high, medium and low archaeological sensitivity.
  3. There are potentially significant archaeological resources in the project area, particularly associated with the Colony Farm that operated from 1887 to the 1960s. Evidence of Native American activities may also exist in the project area.
  4. Landscape modifications of any kind should be avoided in areas of high and medium sensitivity, as determined in this study, as these may potentially cause adverse impact to significant archaeological resources.
  5. The archaeological sensitivity map presented in this report should be consulted when any activities are planned that may adversely impact the landscape, especially in the medium and high sensitivity areas.
  6. Further documentary and archaeological research should be conducted at the preserve to identify a broader range of resources and evaluate those that have already been identified according to National Register criteria. This may involve non-invasive geophysical techniques, as well as subsurface testing.
  7. Professional archaeologists, such as those affiliated with the WMU Department of Anthropology, can assist in making future management recommendations that take into consideration the archaeological potential of the project area.

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References cited

Cleland, C. E.
1982 "The Inland Shore Fishery of the Northern Great Lakes: Its Development and Importance in Prehistory". American Antiquity 47(4): 761-784.

Cremin, William M. and David G. De Fant
1987 "The Indian and the Prairie: Prehistoric and Early Historic Utilization of Native Grassland Environments in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, with Emphasis on Gourd-Neck Prairie in Schoolcraft Township." The Michigan Archaeologist 33(3):118-161.

Daverman Associates
1969 "Physical Plant Inventory: Kalamazoo State Hospital, Kalamazoo, Michigan: Narrative Report and Conspectus Drawings. Prepared for the State of Michigan, Department of Administration, Building Division." Grand Rapids, MI.

Durant, S.
1993 "History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan." Higginson Book Company, Salem, MA (first published in 1880).

Fitting, J. E. and C. E. Cleland
1969 "Late Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the Upper Great Lakes." Ethnohistory 16(4):289-302.

Halsey, John R. (editor)
1999 "Retrieving Michigan’s Buried Past: The Archaeology of the Great Lakes State." Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bulletin 64. Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Hoffman, Mark
2004 "Drake Road Mobile Home Park—Rezoned for Commercial Development." Asylum Lake Preservation Association Newsletter, December. Kalamazoo, MI.

Kalamazoo Nature Center
2001 "Western Michigan University: Asylum Lake Property: Historical Uses and Land Cover, Natural Features Inventory and Habitat Enhancement Recommendations." Report submitted on compact disc to Western Michigan University. On file in the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, Kalamazoo.

Kirkbride, Thomas S.
1854(1880) "On the Construction, Organization and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane with Some Remarks on Insanity and Its Treatment." J.B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia.

Lorentz, Robert E.
1964 "Letter dated January 22 to Dr. Clarence Schrier, Kalamazoo State Hospital re: Fallout Shelter Updating program." On file in possession of Mark Hoffman, Kalamazoo, MI.

Massie, Larry B.
1991 "Report on the Historic Use of the Property Commonly Known as the Kalamazoo State Hospital Colony Farm, the Michigan State University Agricultural Experimental Orchard and the Lee Baker Farm." On file in the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, Kalamazoo.

McGimsey, Charles R, III and Hester A. Davis (editors)
1977 "Guidelines for the Preparation and Evaluation of Archaeological Reports." In The Management of Archeological Resources: The Airlie House Report, edited by C. R. McGimsey III and H. A. Davis, p. 64-77. Special Publication of the Society for American Archaeology.

Mrozowski, Stephen A., Grace H. Ziesing and Mary C. Beaudry
1996 "Living on the Boott: Historical Archaeological at the Boott Mills Boardinghouses, Lowell, Massachusetts." University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Nassaney, Michael S., William M. Cremin, Renee Kurtzweil and Jose Antonio Brandao
2003 "The Search for Fort St. Joseph (1691-1781) in Niles, Michigan." Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 28(2):107-144.

Reports of the Board of Trustees
1887-1954 "Michigan Asylum for the Insane (later Kalamazoo State Hospital, Kalamazoo, Michigan)." On file in the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, Kalamazoo.

Sayers, Daniel O. and Michael S. Nassaney
1999 "Antebellum Landscapes and Agrarian Political Economies: Modeling Progressive Farmsteads in Southwest Michigan." The Michigan Archaeologist 45(3):75-117.

Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc.
1992 "Phase I and Partial Phase II Environmental Site Assessment: Proposed Research and Business Park, Western Michigan University." Report submitted to Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. On file in the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, Kalamazoo.

Other Sources Consulted

Abrams Aerial Survey Corporation
1955 City of Kalamazoo Topographic Map.

Abrams Aerial Survey Corporation
1970 Asylum Lake, Western Michigan University Topographic Map.

Aerial Photograph
1960 Black and White. On file in the Portage Public Library’s Local History Room.

Annual Reports of the Kalamazoo State Hospital
1887-1969 On file in the Michigan State Archives, Lansing.

Atlases of Kalamazoo County
1873, 1890, 1913, 1928

Colony Farm Physical Plant Map

Kalamazoo Gazette
Multiple years. Subject File: Kalamazoo State Hospital (Scrapbooks). File consists of a 1979 appraisal of collected scrapbooks. On file in the Kalamazoo Public Library’s Local History Room.

Multiple years. Subject File: Kalamazoo State Hospital- Buildings and Grounds. File consists of a collection of clipped articles, many without reference to date and year. On file in the Kalamazoo Public Library’s Local History Room.

Morter Collection
Multiple years. File includes record books of the Medical Journal Club of Kalamazoo, Michigan, secretary-treasurer’s minutes, constitution, by-laws, bank statements, miscellaneous bills and papers written by Dr. Roy A. Morter concerning medical practice, drug abuse, mental health and alcoholism while serving as medical superintendent at the Kalamazoo State Hospital (1930-1958). On file in the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, Kalamazoo.

USGS 7.5’ Topographical Maps
1916, 1918, 1967 SW Kalamazoo 15’ Quadrangle

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