Remembering the LaFayette Clinic.

I admit, it is an obscure reference, if you’re not from Michigan. So I will fill you in.

There was this wonderful mental hospital in Detroit, LaFayette Clinic. Yes, it was a public hospital. But it was a cut above the rest. And it was on the foreground of research into treatment of mental illnesses. New medicines and cutting-edge therapies were being studied there. You may have not have heard of it. But there is a good chance your doctor did. It had nationwide fame for the research it did alone.

Then in 1992, Republican Governor of Michigan, John Engler, suddenly closed it.

It was a bargain for the residents of Michigan, something like just a dollar a year IIRC. And the good it did in this world was immeasurable. But Engler just closed it. People still wonder why. The way he did it hurt a lot of the families that had patients there too, I remember. Having the police just round up the patients, often not even telling their family members where they were taking them.

Anyways, Gov. Engler was clearly a sociopath. But this is not the “Pit”, so I am not going go into that. I was just wondering if anyone even remembers it, or even heard of it outside of Michigan, for that matter.

I did a Google search for the story. But all I could find was this.

You can do your own Google search, if you want. Just look up “closure of LaFayette Clinic Detroit”, if you want.

As I said, it was all tragic, very tragic. I think the loss, to research alone, is still felt to this day by patients and their families.


Let me guess… largely “urban” patient base?

I remember it. Also Northville and Eloise.

It would have closed with or without Engler in office. Sign of the times. When was the last time you have seen a freestanding psych hospital? Or even a psych unit in a general hospital?

Yeah, it happened in California, too, though I don’t remember just when it started. I suppose it was a nationwide thing.

There was a famous, huge hospital in Camarillo which combined services for the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, and those addicted to drugs or alcohol. The buildings were of a good-looking Spanish-California architectural style. It closed completely down and was eventually refurbished as a community college.