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.