Archive for the ‘Orphanages’ Category

Moving away from the street side, public face of the orphanage to the back side of the building: less ornate, more utilitarian.

Less scary.



The plywood has weathered to an exotic tribal pattern. I like it.



Of all the shots I took of the orphanage, this last is my favorite. Family portrait? Urban life? There’s that, but I also like how all the shapes line up and balance, with the pigeons being a pure bonus.



Kathy, from The Copper Llama Farm, sent me a really nice note about my post earlier this week that featured her “gals.” The llama with the multi-colored hair is “Confetti” and the Renaissance beauty is named “Vanilla Chai.” Had I been consulted, my vote would have been for “Lucrezia.”

Am I the only person who thinks “Dolly” would be an outstanding name for a llama? Or, are you all thinking it but afraid to say it out loud?

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.