The Haven Sanitarium, World-Renowned Mental Health Hospital of Avon Township

Rochester-Avon Historical Society will present “The Haven Sanitarium” with historian and society president Tiffany Dziurman on Thursday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m. on the society’s online Zoom platform. Dziurman will share her latest research about The Haven Sanitarium, a world-renowned mental health hospital that operated from 1932 to 1968 in Avon Township (now Rochester Hills), MI. The hospital was located on what is now the Grosse Pines Subdivision on Walton Boulevard. 

Old faded photo showing a large home in the distance with a stone wall fence in the foreground.

“The Haven has a unique story that deserves to be told,” said Dziurman. “The hospital began as a private country residence for the Shinnick family in 1927 and later became one of the most sought-after mental health facilities – for both doctors and patients – in the world. And it was all here in our community.”

Dziurman has been researching, writing, and lecturing about The Haven Sanitarium for over six years. She earned a master’s degree in history from Wayne State University and is an independent historian with over 30 published articles on Michigan history. In 2016, Dziurman was a featured historian in the PBS documentary, Pioneer Family on Van Hoosen Farm.

This program is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

The Rochester-Avon Historical Society is a non-profit organization that educates our community about local history to foster appreciation and preservation of our historical resources and pride of place.

In the 1930s, the Rochester Pioneer Society was formed only to disband in the 1940s. In 1969, as Rochester celebrated one hundred years since its incorporation as a village, residents decided to establish a local historical society. The Rochester-Avon Historical Society’s first meeting was held in August 1969.

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  1. One can still see part of that front wall today.

  2. I’m glad there’s more trees there now! Would be cool to see how big the property footprint was overlaid on a modern google map.

  3. I remember iceskating on the small pond behind the Haven of corse we were trespassing but never got caught and my friend who lived at the north end of Hitchman Haven that backed to a field 2 times we witnessed people being chased by people in white maybe patients trying to escape very fascinating I was able to tour the Haven with my mother after it closed something I will never forget

  4. As a kid we would ice skate on the pond behind the Haven never got caught. My friend lived at the North end of Hitchman Haven that backed up to a field where we saw a person being chased by a person in white maybe someone trying to escape. As a young teen I was able to tour the Haven after it closed something I will never forget!

  5. Chris Doliber says

    As a kid we would play in the Haven during my West Junior High days. As early as 1970 . I remember playing on the roof It was slate and very slippery, down to the basement or the furnace area and thru the tunnels. . We were chased several times by a car dashing across the large overgrown grass area in front, Also the caretaker. would find us running thru the house and scream, and we would scream like little girls scrambling in all directions. On more than one occasion he fired a gun. I’m sure not at us but he made his point. If anyone has photos of the Haven, please contact me, I would love to see them.

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