Didn’t think we were done with the U.P., did you? This is the Sacred Heart Orphanage in Marquette, Michigan and it is located a few short blocks from friend Karen’s house.  Built in 1914 by the Diocese of Marquette, it has been abandoned for nearly 50 years. The property belongs to a private owner now and is falling apart. Workers from the Veteran’s Home across the street use the orphanage parking lot as their smoking lounge. Pigeons own the interior. (Pigeon portraits tomorrow.) Horror tales about the building abound and claims of supernatural sightings are many. To quote my sainted Irish mother, the place is “going to hell in a hand basket.”


A couple of things: that violent fuchsia/pink-red is not a result of my mucking about with color. That’s for real. In fact, I even toned it way down in a couple of shots.


Two: I can always be persuaded to sneak inside forbidden territory or slip around “No Trespassing” signs but I didn’t venture farther than the porch at this place. At least one balcony has collapsed. And, I’m glad we didn’t go inside. Karen’s husband told us later that the orphanage houses a lovely collection of bats as well.


Finally,  I normally take great joy in documenting old factories, mine shafts, broken glass and aging doors. This time…not so much. I didn’t like the whole feeling about the place, or at least the ornate face that is presented to the street. I was more comfortable with the utilitarian backside of the building. That I can show you next time.


Well…I do sort of like that last picture. Squint a lot and it could be the backdrop for an opera.

Not opera, but fun fact for the day: did you know that “Anatomy of a Murder” was filmed in the U.P and used the court house in Marquette for the trial scenes? I love both the movie and the novel, written by Robert Traver (John Voelker) and I prize my collection of Traver first editions, all inscribed to me by the author. I never met the man, but years ago was fortunate enough to meet his neighbor who kindly schlepped my books over and had them signed.

  1. mobius faith says:

    Looks like a great space to go exploring inside. Hmmm now to find a way in…. 🙂

  2. Jennifer Dibble says:

    My grandma and her twin lived here many many years ago it is a shame that this place of Marquette history is falling apart, I wish some one would fix this place up, I would if I had the money, but I don’t

  3. Gretchen Passmore says:

    It’s too bad you didn’t feel comfortable going inside. I was googling for more info on the orphanage and found this site. Really interesting background.on the place. http://substreet.org/holy-family-orphanage/

  4. These places tend to be a bit scary at best. I know there was a book done a few years ago with images from insane asylums…..makes you pause and ponder the individuals who resided there and what happened to them. I was hoping to see more interior images……were you able to get behind the locked doors and windows?

    • Oh, wgp…If I was a more intrepid wabi sabi explorer, I would have thrown caution to the wind and climbed in through an open window, Gotta tell you–middle of a fine June day and I still found the place both creepy and a little…hostile. Couldn’t do it. I just wasn’t confident enough in my safety.

      • I understand the conflict of those thoughts……wanting so badly to see what’s behind those curtains or doors…..yet so hesitant to jump in………*sigh*

  5. richardhaas8 says:

    Bring a friend next time. I couldn’t have passed up the opportunity,,,,,,,,,,,these shots are outstanding~!!! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Fuknut says:

    There’s a rope to help you up in the back, it’s pretty easy. This building should be burned and destroyed though…

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