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by: bruce annet

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A generation before Oakland County became synonymous with automobile manufacturing, attracting a large state hospital would begin to transform the area from its rural roots. The facility that resulted was a city within a city, imbued with the optimism and exuberance of an America celebrating its centennial, and designed by one of the most prolific and accomplished architects of the Gilded Age.

Meticulously researched and profusely illustrated with some 150 long-forgotten historic images, Asylum: Pontiac’s Grand Monument from the Gilded Age, recounts the original 1870s construction and opening of what was most recently known as the Clinton Valley Center. It also highlights the hospital’s 122-year presence in the city, and ultimately, its decline and eventual destruction.

This book tells the story of how enterprise, stewardship, and innovation created 19th century Pontiac’s first “economic engine.” Beyond the buildings, it also reveals how the early hospital was a catalyst for a remarkable confluence of individuals who played historic roles in several fields. Biographies of many of these early leaders have been painstakingly collected and assembled from archives and repositories scattered across the nation.

More than a requiem, this book is a celebration of a landmark, and a poignant reminder of what a community won and lost.

Elegantly proportioned and replete with fascinating sidebar stories, this book is generously sized in large 9x12-inch pages. The 104-page volume should be in the collection of anyone interested in the region’s colorful past, Michigan history and architecture.

Asylum: Pontiac’s Grand Monument from the Gilded Age
104 pages – soft cover
ISBN: 0-9719141-0-9
Library of Congress Control Number: 2002093886
Printed in the United States of America

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