The Michigan State Sanatorium’s construction began in the city of Howell in 1906. By September 7th of the following year, the sanatorium started admitting patients. From 1909 and 1930, the hospital grew from 16 beds to 500 beds in just 21 years. At that time, tuberculosis (also known as consumption and the white plague) had ravaged the United States, leading to millions of deaths as the result of the epidemic. Once antibiotics were developed, the death rate dropped significantly. Thusly, the hospital admitted patients with mental disabilities and was renamed to the Howell State Hospital. The name was changed again in 1978 to the Hillcrest Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled.
During the 1980s, several mental hospitals in northern Michigan were closed due to a healthcare reform and new prescription drugs for mental disorders that revolutionized the care of individuals with disabilities; Hillcrest was no exception, shutting its doors in 1982.
The Hillcrest’s buildings have long since been demolished, with upscale homes being developed atop the property. The homeowners have made reports of paranormal activity on their property as result of the patients who died in the hospital, with the activity ranging from mysterious lights and noises to apparitions of ghost children.
- Haunted Howell and the History of the Old Hillcrest Sanatorium – Michigan’s Other Side
- Hillcrest Sanitarium – Forgotten USA