ELOISE COMPLEX

(Wayne County Poor House)(Eloise Hospital)(Eloise Infirmary)(Eloise Sanatorium)(Wayne County General Hospital)

30712 Michigan Avenue, Westland, MI

Status: Former Large Psychiatric/Medical Complex; Almost Completely Demolished; Remaining Buildings Repurposed

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By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Deedeebee" class="mw-redirect" title="User:Deedeebee">Dwight Burdette</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY 3.0Link


History

This complex originally opened as a poor house in 1839 with 33 residents. An area of 280 acres was bought and put aside for it. The only existing building on the site was the Black Horse Tavern; a log cabin which served as a stage coach stop for the Detroit-Chicago run. The Tavern became the Keepers House and another building was built for the residents of the poor house.

By the Great Depression in the 1930’s the complex had become massive with numerous buildings and a population of over 10,000 residents. The complex was completely self-sufficient with a farm, a fire and police department, its own trolley system, laundry, power plant and recreation hall as well as numerous buildings for patient care and residency.

When it was running at full capacity Eloise was the largest psychiatric institution in the United States.

As the population dropped the farm ceased operations in 1958 and in the 1970’s some of the large psychiatric buildings began to shut down. By 1982 all psychiatric patients had been transferred off site and the State of Michigan took over.

The last institution was the General Hospital and it was closed in 1986.

The adjoining cemetery – the last burial was in 1948 – with over 7000 graves marked only by numbers is owned by Wayne County at last report. Legally, you need permission of the relatives to move remains but it is doubtful the records of who these numbers belonged to even exist anymore. Considering a poor house, a tuberculosis sanatorium, an insane asylum and a hospital all once were running on the site it is highly probable there are numerous unmarked graves here as well. The cemetery is located on Henry Ruff Road south of Michigan Avenue.

The buildings began to be demolished and a strip mall, golf course and condos now occupy the land. The large smoke stack with Eloise written on it was deemed unsafe and brought down in 2006. The old Commissary building is now a homeless shelter and only the bakery – badly damaged in a fire in 2016, the fire house, the old power plant and D Building – now called the Kay Beard Building – remain.

The remaining property is now owned by a developer – who bought the site for a staggering $1 - and plans to turn the Kay Beard building into a hotel/bar/restaurant and the fire hall into a public space. Both the bakery – in ruins – and the power plant – full of asbestos – will be torn down shortly.

Paranormal tours were offered at one point in the Kay Beard Building but the new owner has only said there will be a haunted attraction built in the building.

 

Paranormal Activity

Considering its once formidable size and number of patients – deceased and alive – and the number of procedures performed here its not hard to imagine that any and all forms of paranormal activity have been reported here.

The property was chopped up after the majority of the buildings were demolished and many commercial and residential buildings were built on the former grounds. Needless to say, labeling the property as haunted was not anything the people who were making money from these sales wanted. I did come across one newspaper article where a real estate agent was asked about it – his reply was “nobody gives a shit.”

There have been paranormal investigations of the old power plant and the Kay Beard Building – formerly Building D where 400 patients were housed – and they described the property as very eerie and reported feelings of unease, being watched and as if there were invisible presences close by as well as a lot of emotional residues left over from the site’s long history.

Wayne County did use Building D as offices for a while in the 2000’s and employees did report many of the things the investigators did as well as encounters with apparitions; some of whom spoke with and interacted with the living.

So, what to expect should you go here: apparitions of former staff and patients; shadow figures; disembodied voices, laughter, crying, screaming and shouting; all manner of so-called Poltergeist activity; empathic feelings of every emotion possible for human beings; touches, pokes and prods from unseen entities; light anomalies; unexplained mists and electrical disturbances etc, etc, etc.