From Tragedies To Triumph – The Holy Family Orphanage: Marquette, Michigan
The Holy Family Orphanage in Marquette has long been one of the Upper Peninsula's most legendary locations.....legendary for the stories that still circulate about the cruelty that was doled out to the unfortunate children who were placed there.
The orphanage was constructed in 1915 after two other U.P. orphanages were too full to accommodate more children. The cost was $120,000 which would be $3,586,170 by 2023 standards. The home was able to hold 200 orphans and was intended for white children only. Even so, many of the first kids to arrive were spilled over from the Assinins orphanage - sixty Native American children.
These Native American kids had been taken away from their parents when they were just babies, put in the orphanage, and placed with white families in order to have them grow up adapting to the Caucasian culture. Many of these children had no clue about their true heritage until they were adults.
It didn't take long for stories about cruelty to circulate. Some of the former orphanage children had tales to tell once they were freed of the place and reached adulthood. They related stories about cruel punishment doled out by the nuns. Some said the nuns had harshly beaten kids and used them as examples of “what could happen” if they didn't follow the rules.
According to Arcadia Publishing, one of the most-often-told tales involves a little girl who went out to play during a snowstorm and got lost. By the time the nuns finally found her, she had contracted pneumonia...she died two or three days later. To set an example to the other children, the nuns put the girl's body on display in the lobby, stating “this is what happens when you don't follow the rules.” Former orphans confirmed that this story is true.
Another incident is about a boy whose cause of death was unknown and the nuns attempted to cover it up. The boy's remains were kept in the basement.
As these tales circulated, paranormal investigators came from all over in an attempt to capture some sort of activity. Some explorers claimed to witness a baby carriage rolling across the floor by itself, crying in the lobby, a glowing orb in the basement, and fluttering lights through the windows at night.
The last of the orphans were out in 1967 and the orphanage was left abandoned by the 1980s. Trespassers would continually take advantage of the abandoned building, by entering and taking videos & photos of the crumbling, deteriorating insides. Many locals believed the building would be eventually demolished, as the insides were too far gone and expensive to try and salvage.
They were wrong.
In 2017 the orphanage was bought, extensively AND expensively remodeled, renovated, and renewed at a cost of over 15 million dollars. Completed in 2018, it is now known as The Grandview Apartments with 56 affordable units and a top-floor view of Lake Superior.
Photos below show what the insides looked like before renovation and a few afterward.
Holy Family Orphanage in Marquette: Then-and-Now
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