Klosed in Kalamazoo


Kalamazoo State Hospital

In an effort to add to the surfacestation.org survey coverage, I’ve been looking at a number of stations from the aerial vantage points available in Google Earth and Microsoft Live Maps. I particularly look for the stations that have Stevenson Screens, as those are the most visible and easy to spot from these online resources.

I was disappointed to learn though that the USHCN station at Kalamazoo State Hospital (a state psychiatric hospital) has been closed. It was probably due to recent construction of new wards as seen here:

Click for a live interactive aerial view

While I was scouring online image databases looking for a surviving photo that would show the placement of the Stevenson Screen, I stumbled across this photo on Flickr taken from afar and this strange comment about it:

Kalamazoo, Michigan - Kalamazoo State Hospital Water Tower by Dogbert10.

Flickr caption reads: I took this photo from well away from the grounds of the State Hospital, so as to avoid violating state law.

“Apparently, it is illegal to take photographs on the grounds of the state hospital as a protection to those who are patients there. I received a lengthy explanation of this law from the Michigan State Police officer who was on patrol at the hospital the morning I visited. He advised me that the hospital office has quite a collection of confiscated cameras.”

I did visit another state mental hospital in Napa, CA and found this placement of the MMTS:


You can see a full set of pictures, at the surfacestations.org image database.

So WUWT readers, here is the challenge against very unlikely odds:

Find a surviving photo of the USHCN weather station at Kalamazoo State Hospital.

Good hunting.

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Perry Debell
November 30, 2008 11:33 am

This is OT, but this link was passed to me from a fellow AGW sceptic in Galicia, Spain and I believe you should be appraised of it.

Mike McMillan
November 30, 2008 11:44 am

Perhaps there is an artist among us. A set of acrylics would be wonderful, but charcoals would do fine, or even pencil sketches.

November 30, 2008 1:21 pm

Winner! Insensitive title of the year
REPLY: Hmmm, I never thought about that. When I was growing up in the midwest, “Krazy in Kalamazoo” was a saying I’d heard several times, sort of like “Sleepless in Seattle”.
The saying went something like this, though I can’t remember the exact wording: If I’m wrong about that, then they’re Krazy in Kalamazoo
The title wasn’t meant to offend anyone. But I’ve changed it since the title really isn’t of any consequence to my hope that somebody will help me get photos of this station. – Anthony

November 30, 2008 2:39 pm

Re Perry link:
Why do the “Updates” stop in Feb. 08? They didn’t care for the trend?

November 30, 2008 2:50 pm

we have a small group looking for exact locations of all the UK weather stations to asses their quality on the world famous Watts 5 point scale. Photo’s are hard to come by, Met office location data are wrong and google earth doesn’t spot them all. Like you we are just going to have to visit them.
More when we have some useful information

Bruce Foutch
November 30, 2008 3:09 pm

Possible source of information below:
“Station History of Kalamazoo
Observations began on August 1, 1866, as a temperature-only station, and
continued through March 31, 1867, but the exact station location is unknown.
In January 1876 a precipitation-only station was established. In January 1877
the station was converted into a full climate station located at the State
Hospital, 1.5 mi. SW of town (0.9 mi. SW of the post office). The station has
been at this location to the present.
For more information please contact:
Michigan Departent of Agriculture, Climatology Program
417 Natural Science Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Voice (517)373-8338 BBS (517)336-1075
(517)355-0231 FAX (517)336-1076”

Bruce Foutch
November 30, 2008 3:18 pm

Another interesting weather site referring to Kalamazoo:
Seems you can do your own charting here.

Bill Illis
November 30, 2008 3:25 pm

People have said this before but what is it about these air conditioners that makes them such a great attractor for an MMTS sensor right in front of them.

Bruce Foutch
November 30, 2008 4:00 pm

Mr. Watts,
What is the white box shape .11 miles ssw of the water tower @
42*16’39.90″N, 85*36’19.40″W on Google Earth’
It is just off a small rectangular parking lot and next to a dirt or gravel road.
It seems to have a peak roof. Not sure if Stevenson Screens are made with that style roof or not.
REPLY: It is half the size of a vehicle, too big and wrong roof to be a screen. Besides NCDC reports the station closed around 2000, so doubtfull it is still there, and I think the aerial photos are more recent than that. – Anthony

November 30, 2008 4:20 pm

Hey, Kalamazoo is a great town full of college students who would likely take pride in the original title. Apparently air conditioners attract thermometers. Perhaps a Watt are the odds post is in order.
I just finished a post on Dr Loehles paper regarding tree rings and temp reconstructions. It is an interesting topic which relates to the continued use of tree rings in spite of the “divergence” problem.

David L. Hagen
November 30, 2008 4:25 pm

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum at the Kalamazoo Community College advertises their “Kalamazoo Valley Museum Weather Station 3”. That link shows a photo of their “weather station”.
(It looks like it is mounted over a black roof! They may have an exhibit about anthropogenic global warming.)
The museum curator at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum may be able to help with photos of the old Kalamazoo State Hospital weather station. See contact details at the bottom of the page.

November 30, 2008 5:23 pm

Bill Illis

People have said this before but what is it about these air conditioners that makes them such a great attractor for an MMTS sensor right in front of them.

I believe it’s based on the same principle that causes trailer parks to attract tornados.
There is an R-squared correlation. You could look it up on RealClimate.

T. Cormode
November 30, 2008 6:55 pm

It could be nothing but there is something in the bottom corner of the picture on the right on the following site.

November 30, 2008 7:32 pm

I went to high school in Stevensville, MI, 1 hr west of K-zoo. Krazy in Kalamazoo was something I was familiar with as well.

December 1, 2008 5:04 am

Colin Aldridge (14:50:23) :
we have a small group looking for exact locations of all the UK weather stations to asses their quality on the world famous Watts 5 point scale. Photo’s are hard to come by, Met office location data are wrong and google earth doesn’t spot them all. Like you we are just going to have to visit them.

How do I join in?

December 1, 2008 7:47 am

BigJim (13:21:58) :
Winner! Insensitive title of the year
Winner! Oversensitive comment of the year

Ed Scott
December 1, 2008 7:54 am

Lawyers call for international court for the environment
A former chairman of the Bar Council is calling for an international court for the environment to punish states that fail to protect wildlife and prevent climate change.
The court would be led by retired judges, climate change experts and public figures. It would include a scientific body to consider evidence and provide access to any data on the environment.

December 1, 2008 8:10 am

Granted OT but…what is the deal with that brick tower in the middle of the square…guard tower, water tower, isolation rooms?? Never seen anything like that before. Wouldn’t suprise me if they had the sensors up there before.
Jeff K

December 1, 2008 8:13 am

I found a short post on antarctic temperature trends fairly interesting. You might want to check it out.

Phillip Bratby
December 1, 2008 9:30 am

OT, but the madness here in the UK grows. Reported by the BBC and all the MSM is the report by the Climate Change Committee entitled “Building a low-carbon economy – the UK’s contribution to tackling climate change”. See http://www.theccc.org.uk/reports/.
It is obvious that we in the UK are intent on leading the western world back to the dark ages.

December 1, 2008 9:50 am

Came across this report, 10% of species will disappear for every degree C increase. Good grief another piece of junk getting media attention:

December 1, 2008 9:58 am

It is indeed a water tower.

David Jay
December 1, 2008 10:25 am

My alma mater, Western Michigan University is right across the street (Stadium Drive) from the hospital.
We used to say that patients were attending “Kalamazoo State”

Jim Latta
December 1, 2008 11:00 am

JeffK, inquired about the brick tower on the grounds of the Kalamazoo state hospital. I grew up about 7 miles away. The tower has a rather foreboding appearance, especially on a cold gray day, of which there are many in Kazoo. The kids in the neighborhood and I believed the insane asylum kept their most dangerous inmates chained up inside the tower. I later found out It’s a water tower.
Alarmists like to teach kids about global warming. Kids love fanciful stories, especially if they involve really scary stuff.

December 1, 2008 11:14 am

BigJim (13:21:58) :
Winner! Insensitive title of the year
God Bi-Jim, get a life, will ya? I’m so sick of the Politically Correct Police that I’m about to slit my North American-American wrists and commit suicide.
Whoops! Is that too “insensitive” to the borderline psychotics out there that may be considering ending it all? Wow! I should be more careful with my “hate speech”.
I did it again! I sincerely apologize to any non North American-Americans that I may have offended in my obvious omission to those of other races, colors, creeds, mental state of health or continent of origin.

Steven Hill
December 1, 2008 12:06 pm

Looking forward to Nov temp data, the USA has to be way down. Of course, I am certian that Russia is 20 degrees + and rising out of control and all the artic ice is gone and the world will be doomed without instant action to cut CO2

Ed Scott
December 1, 2008 1:56 pm

Dr. Pachauri strikes again.
Farmers Panic About a ‘Cow Tax’
Even very small agricultural operations would meet a 100-tons-per-year emissions threshold. For example, dairy facilities with over 25 cows, beef cattle operations of over 50 cattle, swine operations with over 200 hogs, and farms with over 500 acres of corn may need to get a … permit. It is neither efficient nor practical to require permitting and reporting of [greenhouse] emissions from farms of this size. Excluding only the 200,000 largest commercial farms, our agricultural landscape is comprised of 1.9 million farms with an average value of production of $25,589 on 271 acres. These operations simply could not bear the regulatory compliance costs that would be involved.

Sam The Skeptic
December 1, 2008 1:58 pm

I was very interested in Perry Debell’s posting above.
What is significant in all the defences that the Warm-ongers put forward or that they include in their models is the apparently unquestioned assumption that warming is all down to “greenhouse gases” by which they mean CO2.
Hopefully this will eventually prove to be their weak spot. If someone can convince politicians and the media that within certain limits increased CO2 will be beneficial to life on earth (which I believe it is) then all their other arguments will become open to challenge and we might finally get a bit of honesty in the debate.

December 1, 2008 2:30 pm

OT: GLOBAL WARMING CAUSES: A funny 9:35 video at:

Chris D.
December 1, 2008 3:44 pm

Before this thread devolves beyond repair, Anthony, you might check with the Kalamazoo Public Library, the nearest NWS office, and the hospital’s administrative office to see what archives exist. I was able to locate a few very old images of the hospital in the library’s online collection, but didn’t spot anything looking like a weather station. The MMS states the placement was on a hill crest area. The map tab places the site right on a building that appears to be on the adjacent college campus, but this could be due to the typical practice of using a rounded coordinate. On the other hand, perhaps the observer was someone on the school’s faculty and the site was on hospital grounds simply because it was situated there from early on. But that’s just a guess.

December 1, 2008 4:12 pm

Tom in Texas:
Excellent link!

Graeme Rodaughan
December 1, 2008 4:13 pm

Ed Scott (07:54:45) :
I’m all in favour – provided everyone who works there does so on a strictly pro-bono basis, and all judgements are non-binding on all parties.

Graeme Rodaughan
December 1, 2008 6:06 pm

Sad days indeed – The Australian Parliament refuses to hear Anti-AGW Evidence.
Ref: http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/parliament_bans_the_cool_facts/
(Put fingers in ears – la la la….)

December 1, 2008 6:23 pm

they have significant variation with temperature for inaccuracies
Anthony, how is this corrected

December 1, 2008 6:30 pm

Well Graeme Rodaughan it looks like the Aus guv gets it’s inspiration from idiots, according to this snip from – Fight climate change by watching grass grow (BTW good farming technique article) –
“A recent poll showed that 88pc of Australians wanted an emissions trading scheme (ETS) in Australia, and 60pc of people wanted it even if nobody else in the world was doing it,” he said.
“But a parallel survey found only eight per cent of Australians knew what an ETS was, so you’ve got three quarters of all Australians wanting something that they don’t know what it is.
“I think if we can talk through some of these other issues before we’ve done silly things just because they are politically popular, or people think they want it, we can probably avoid the pain but actually deliver some outcomes.”


Fred Gams
December 1, 2008 7:23 pm

Other Topic, but this is getting crazy:
Lawyers call for international court for the environment.
A former chairman of the Bar Council is calling for an international court for the environment to punish states that fail to protect wildlife and prevent climate change.
Stephen Hockman QC is proposing a body similar to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment.
The first role of the new body would be to enforce international agreements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions set to be agreed next year.
But the court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the “right to a healthy environment”.
The innovative idea is being presented to an audience of politicians, scientists and public figures for the first time at a symposium at the British Library.
Mr Hockman, a deputy High Court judge, said that the threat of climate change means it is more important than ever for the law to protect the environment.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland this month is set to begin negotiations that will lead to a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen next year. Developed countries are expected to commit to cutting emissions drastically, while developing countries agree to halt deforestation.
Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, has agreed the concept of an international court will be taken into account when considering how to make these international agreements on climate change binding. The court is also backed by a number of MPs, climate change experts and public figures including the actress Judi Dench.
Mr Hockman said an international court will be needed to enforce and regulate any agreement.

David L. Hagen
December 1, 2008 7:37 pm

I expect Cuil may have the most comprehensive listing of pages.
See “Klamazoo State Hospital” 1291 results at Cuil
Kalamazoo State Hospital
water tower etc.
Another possible contact:
Dr. William A Decker, former Medical Superintendent of the Kalamazoo State Hospital, will be signing copies of his new book “Asylum for the Insane: A History of the Kalamazoo State Hospital”.
400 pages Arbutus Press (November 1, 2007) ISBN-10: 193392604X

David L. Hagen
December 1, 2008 7:43 pm

More from Google Images of Kalamazoo State Hospital”

Fred Gams
December 1, 2008 8:35 pm

another OT:
Rivers are carbon processors, not inert pipelines

Recent estimates by Battin’s team and others conclude there is a net flux, or outgassing, of carbon dioxide from the world’s rivers and streams to the atmosphere of at least two-thirds to three-quarters of a gigatonne (Gt) of carbon per year. This flux has not been taken into account in the models of the global carbon cycle used to predict climate change.
“Surface water drainage networks perfuse and integrate the landscape, across the whole planet,” says Battin, “but they are missing from all global carbon cycling, even from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports. Rivers are just considered as inert pipelines, receiving organic carbon from Earth and transporting it to the ocean.” This thinking, according to Battin, has changed radically in last few years.
He argues that the latest estimates of how much carbon is transferred to the atmosphere from rivers and streams are very conservative. “The actual outgassing of carbon dioxide is probably closer to 2 Gt of carbon per year,” says Battin. “Our surface area estimates only consider larger streams and rivers, because it is very hard to estimate accurately the surface area of small streams. So small streams are excluded, although in terms of microbial activity, they are the most reactive in the network.”
Two gigatonnes of carbon per year is close to half the estimated net primary production of the world’s vegetation each year. Realising that this quantity of carbon may be delivered straight back to the atmosphere, rather than being taken to the ocean where some of it is removed by marine organisms and ends up in sediment, could have profound consequences for our understanding of the system.

Paul Benkovitz
December 1, 2008 10:03 pm

OT, interesting link.
I just saw this link on Slashdot. Sounds like the truth is slowly getting out.
Not sure why I could not find the contact info on this blog.

David L. Hagen
December 2, 2008 8:13 am

From a phone call with Dr. William A. Decker, he cited that weather station in his book: “Asylum for the Insane: A History of the Kalamazoo State Hospital”.
He noted that the weather station was monitored by the Safety and Security Department of the Kalamazoo State Hospital. Awaiting possible further contacts and info.

Chris D.
December 2, 2008 6:14 pm

David L. Hagen: Applause! Way to latch on. That makes sense. My first guess would have been Engineering/Physical Plant personnel. I’m sure it’s a matter of time before you snag an image if you’re persistent.

Russ N.
December 5, 2008 12:10 pm

Slightly off topic, the State Psychiatric Hospital was closed quite a while ago. The new building in the left side of the photo is part of Western Michigan University, which took over most (if not all) of the property.

David L. Hagen
December 12, 2008 8:48 am

Preliminary verbal details from Dr.William Decker:
The USHCN weather station at Kalamazoo State Hospital was first located near the greenhouse. When the greenhouse was razed in the 1960s, that weather station was relocated to the west side of the Occupational Therapy Building near the Safety and Security Department.
Awaiting photos and further details.

David L. Hagen
December 12, 2008 8:55 am

Historic photography documenting the development of the Kalamazoo State Hospital region is shown in:

Rory J. Becker and Michael S. Nassaney
Presented to
Asylum Lake Preserve Research and Education Review Panel
Asylum Lake Policy and Management Council
Western Michigan University
Reports of Investigations No. 109
Presented by:
Department of Anthropology
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5032

January 10, 2009 3:05 pm

I surveyed the station in Jamestown, ND, which is also at the State Hospital. Not sure if I was breaking any rules, but I saw a hospital vehicle approaching the station as I drove away.

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