Did Elvis Presley Live In The Kalamazoo State Hospital’s Water Tower on Asylum Lake?
Those familiar with Kalamazoo's history know about Asylum Lake, and where it got its name. It was once home to the Michigan Asylum for the Insane, later named the Kalamazoo State Hospital.
But while diving down the rabbit hole to learn about the asylum, I stumbled across a rumor, possibly perpetuated by one of it's former supervisors... Did Elvis Presley Live In the Water Tower?
Dr. William A Decker, M.D. is a psychiatrist, and was the superintendent at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital from 1974 until 1987. He began working at the State Hospital in 1953 right out of college.
Sadly, Decker died in 2015, but not before giving a special presentation at the Kalamzoo Public Library in 2009 about KZoo State Hospital, and its history. He wrote a book about the Hospital, and recorded a six-part series on Youtube.
One of those parts, though, included an interesting story about Elvis, and the facility's water tower - a rumor that Dr. Decker MAY have played a part in.
"There are some interesting myths about the water tower. One of them, of course, that I'm very fascinated by, is the one that I allegedly allowed Elvis Presley [To Live there.]"
Yeah, during his time as a supervisor, Dr. Decker received calls about Elvis sightings in Kalamazoo, and one newspaper came calling... But instead of correcting the reporter, Dr. Decker pulled a boss move, and rolled with it.
"I played into the story for a while, and said 'yes,' I had come into an agreement with him, with an understanding that he could live in the tower... but he could only exit at night... and he had to use the tunnel under the grounds that leads to the west entrance to the quadrangle, and he had to be back in before daylight."
SERIOUS Boss Move! Well-played sir.
Eventually, Dr. Decker had to tell them the truth, that no, Elvis Presley was NOT staying in the water tower. But that didn't stop him from telling visitors a few "fantasies" about what "really happened" in the tower.
"I liked to feed into those fantasies from time to time, for a while, and I told them 'yes, we have armed guards up there,' and of course, that fit in beautifully with their fantasy that there were machine guns up there, and we housed our worst patients in that tower."
Just imagine, taking the tour of that place, and the man in charge is telling you "Yep, everything you heard from Timmy's cousin's neighbor is real!"
Pretty cool lore in Kalamazoo History. And if you're still a believer that Elvis spent a lot of time in Kalamazoo, read about the office he kept downtown, and was spotted at a burger place years after he "allegedly" died.
You can hear Dr. Decker tell the "Elvis" rumor from his own account in the video below.