Project Description

Grand Traverse Commons


The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, formerly Traverse City State Hospital, was built in 1885 and took less than 3 years to construct. The original structure, known as Building 50, is almost a quarter mile long, is 300,000 square feet and stands 70 feet tall. The building had a state-of-the-art ventilation system that pushed air through the underground tunnels and thru ductwork and eventually up and out the spires that you see in the photographs. Over 8 million bricks were brought in from a brickyard at Cedar Lake. 

Almost immediately upon the completion of the original building, demand was so great that cottage buildings had to be constructed to handle the increasing patient population. The original Building 50 and all the Cottages were segregated between men and women. Cottages to the south were for women and the Cottages to the north were for men. The Cottages also allowed for the hospital to separate patients based on the severity of their illnesses.


Today, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons is a place to live, work, enjoy a picnic on the lawn, shop and dine. The grounds and buildings have not been fully restored as you’ll see in the pictures above. It’s a fascinating place to spend a few hours roaming the grounds and imagining how it used to be. There are many books available that go into the history of the commons in various bookstores throughout Traverse City and at the Commons.

See why the Grand Traverse Commons is listed as one of our favorite Things To Do. You won’t be disappointed with your visit here!

Here’s a list of some of the things to do at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons:

Food & Drink

  • Cuppa Joe
  • Earthen Ales Taproom & Brewery
  • Higher Grounds Coffee
  • Left Foot Charley Winery
  • Pepe Nero Italian Restaurant
  • Pleasanton Brick Oven Bakery
  • Red Spire Brunch House
  • Spanglish Cafe
  • Sugar to Salt
  • Trattoria Stella
  • Underground Cheesecake Factory


Plus More…

  • One of a kind indoor shopping with many unique local shops
  • Several different fascinating Guided Tours
  • Various events inside and outside
  • Farmers Markets
  • Other Professional Services