Thursday, January 12, 2017

Uncommon Commons

One of the places I've been exploring since my move to Traverse City is the Grand Traverse Commons.  The Commons is a mixed-use hub of shops, restaurants, and condominium and senior apartment homes.  It's also home to a yoga health education center where I'm taking a class.

The Commons has been developed using the buildings and grounds of the now defunct Traverse City State Hospital, which closed in 1989 following a national philosophy change in caring for the mentally ill, resulting in the deinstitutionalization of this population.

The structures remain true to their Victorian-Italianate architectural design.  Buff-colored brick, towers, bracketed eves, dormers, and expansive porches were common, and remain so.  I can almost see Dr. Munson's patients enjoying an evening on the porch after their work day of farming, furniture construction, fruit canning, and other jobs that kept the asylum self-sufficient.

But it's the red-topped spires that have most drawn me to the explore The Commons.

Some spires have white ornamentation against a color-coordinated buff background.

Others have a louvered design on the sides.  All are topped off with gold ornamentation.

No matter where you are in The Commons, these spires stand out against the sky.

This is one of my favorite spots because five spires are visible from this one perspective.  Only three are on this building in the foreground.  The others rise above from buildings in the background.  I wish I'd had a more panoramic picture showing a full 360 degree rotation so I could count all the red spires I was seeing.


  1. Great captures of the architectural features of The Commons, Karen! A beautifully composed series with great colors. I especially love those red-topped spires against the blue sky and white clouds.

  2. Thanks, Jan. I was lucky with the blue skies, but they sure make a difference.