In a thrilling announcement, officials have revealed plans to transform the long-abandoned Eloise Psychiatric Hospital, also known as Eloise Asylum, in Westland, Michigan, into a hotel, restaurant, and haunted attraction. With rumors of hauntings surrounding the site, this $4 million renovation project aims to breathe new life into the historic buildings while preserving their rich history. This ambitious endeavor is supported by a $695,000 brownfield grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), which will aid in the cleanup efforts required due to contamination on the property.
The History of Eloise Asylum
From Poorhouse to Healthcare Facility
Eloise Asylum has a fascinating history that dates back to its origins as a poorhouse in 1839. Over the years, it grew to become one of the largest public healthcare facilities in the United States. The asylum admitted its first inmate, Bridget “Biddy” Hughes, in 1841, and she remained there until her passing in 1895. The institution played a crucial role in providing care for the mentally ill and pioneered various treatments, including electroshock therapy, insulin shock therapy, television therapy, recreational therapy, music therapy, and occupational therapy.
The Decline and Closure
Despite its significant contributions to psychiatric care, Eloise Asylum faced a decline in the late 20th century. The psychiatric services at the facility ceased in 1979, and the general hospital closed its doors in 1984. As a result, most of the complex’s 75 buildings were demolished by the mid-1980s, leaving behind a haunting reminder of its past.
The Renovation Project
Contamination Challenges and Cleanup Efforts
Redeveloping the Eloise Asylum site has proven challenging due to contamination issues. Petroleum-related compounds have been found in the soil and groundwater, likely resulting from underground storage tanks that leaked over time. To address this, the EGLE grant will fund the excavation, transport, and disposal of the contaminated soil, ensuring that the historic structures remain free from subsurface contamination. This cleanup effort is crucial for the safe transformation of the asylum into a vibrant destination.
Preservation and New Additions
While many buildings have been lost to time, the renovation project aims to preserve two of the historic structures that remain. These buildings will serve as a reminder of the asylum’s past and provide a glimpse into the history of mental healthcare in the United States. In addition, the project will see the construction of commercial establishments, including a haunted attraction, hotel, and restaurant and bar. This blend of history and entertainment will offer visitors a unique and immersive experience.
Economic Impact and Job Creation
The partnership between the city of Westland and 30712 Michigan Avenue LLC for the redevelopment of Eloise Asylum is not only an endeavor to revive a historical site but also a catalyst for economic growth. The multi-phase project is expected to create 50-100 full-time jobs, providing opportunities for the local community. Moreover, it will generate 75-100 seasonal jobs, injecting vitality into the area. The revitalization efforts are also anticipated to result in a remarkable $2.5 million increase in the property’s taxable value, further benefiting the local economy.
The Haunting Legacy of Eloise Asylum
From Desolation to a Haunted Attraction
While the Eloise Asylum has remained abandoned for several decades, it has not escaped the fascination of paranormal enthusiasts and thrill-seekers. In 2021, the Kay Beard Building, also known as Building D, opened its doors as a haunted attraction. This transformation allows visitors to explore the eerie hallways and experience the chilling atmosphere firsthand. The combination of history and haunting tales makes the Eloise Asylum a must-visit destination for those intrigued by the paranormal.
The $4 million renovation of the abandoned Eloise Asylum in Westland, Michigan, represents a remarkable opportunity to transform a once-desolate site into a vibrant destination. With a focus on preserving the asylum’s historic structures while addressing contamination challenges, the project aims to create a unique experience for visitors. From a haunted hotel to a restaurant and a haunting attraction, Eloise Asylum’s new chapter promises to captivate guests with its rich history and eerie ambiance. As the doors of this transformed asylum open, it invites brave souls to explore its haunted past and embrace the thrill of the unknown.
Read more about the renovation at MLive.