Burns Cottage (1900-1988)

The front (north) and east sides. From "The Siggins Album," circa 1900. (Courtesy of the Local History Room of The Kalamazoo Public Library.) Burns Cottage was located behind the Male Department building.

The front (north) and west side. Fletcher Hospital is visible to the right, the back of the Male Department to the left. (Scanned from "Kalamazoo Lost and Found" (Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission, 2001).)

The front and east side, circa 1975, photographed from the roof of the Quadrangle building. The Clinical Pathology building is in the background. (From the Clarence Shrier Collection, courtesy Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections.)

The south side, with the water tower and the Female Department cupolas.

Aerial photo (circa 1969-1975) clockwise from top left: 1965 chapel, administration/quadrangle/water tower, Male Department, Burns Cottage, Mary Muff Hospital. Map below reverses the perspective.

When the Male Department building was demolished in 1975, Burns Cottage became visible from Oakland Drive. It remained for 13 more years. In 1988, three of the four remaining old buildings on the south end of the asylum were torn down: Burns Cottage, Fletcher Hospital, and Edwards Hospital. The fourth and last building, Noble Lodge, stood until 2013.

The Male Department Area

Located just south of the centerline (marked by the water tower), this area included The Male Department, Burns Cottage, and The Clinical Pathology building. (Click on the tags at the end of this post to see all posts including a particular building.)

The Male Department was one of two Kirkbride Plan buildings constructed at the asylum, the other being the original structure, which was redefined as the Female Department once the Male Department was built. By the time the original asylum was completed in 1869, the asylum was already running out of space for patients, so the Male Department was completed by 1872.

Unlike the area behind the Female Department, where most of the asylum’s service buildings were constructed, from 1860 through 1948, there were only Burns Cottage and Clinical Pathology behind the Male Department. (Much earlier, there had been a barn and the first ice house.)

Circa 1975: Burns Cottage in the foreground and the Clinical Pathology Building in the background. The Male Department is to the left and not visible in the photo. (Courtesy Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections)

Below are a comparison of a 1970 map, a 1950s aerial view, and a 2012 satellite view. 

Aerial view, 1955: Oakland Drive bottom, Male Department center, Clinical Pathology (left) and Burns Cottage (right) behind the Male Department, and Mary Muff Tubercular Hospital at the top right (addressed in the "Center Line Area" overview).  (Courtesy Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections)

The same area in 2012.