TRAVERSE CITY — Erin Crowell can see the old chapel at the Traverse City State Hospital from the window of her condo.
So the newly renovated space now called Kirkbride Hall was her first choice for her wedding ceremony.
“I never fantasized about my wedding but once I was in there I wanted to be part of that fun, that transformation,” said Crowell, who on May 25 will become the first person to be married in the renovated space. The building once held religious services, plays, dances and other social events for hospital patients.
“When I found out that they were going to have events at the chapel space, I had my fingers crossed that the timing would be right,” Crowell said.
Renovations of the 1885 chapel took almost eight months and are almost complete just in time for a May 15 Michigan Women in Finance reception, said Raymond Minervini II of The Minervini Group, developers of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The former chapel is on the second floor of Building 50, the Commons’ most iconic building.
“At the time this was probably the biggest building north of Grand Rapids,” Minervini said. “When Building 50 opened in 1885 they had an open house in the chapel.”
The new Kirkbride Hall named after the physician who conceived the design of the former state hospital and other 19th century insane asylums will function as a gathering and event space or the region and the Village neighborhood, Minervini said.
“There are definitely larger places in Traverse City but this is probably the most historic,” he said, noting that the hall predates the more ornate City Opera House by seven years. “This is more appropriate for small events, like the right wedding. We also want this to be a focal point for small music events, from flute recitals to smaller touring events.”