Day 2.

Manistique, Michigan to Baxter, Minnesota.

726 kilometers.

I woke up early on day 2 to get ready and head off. I went outside to grab some things and found it way too cold for a t shirt and shorts. I thought it over and realized that I was actually going to be able to wear my new sweater in late June. I can't complain though, the weather was great, I had pants and a sweater on & didn't get warm. Everyone else probably would have been freezing since they don't have the extra 30 pounds of insulation that I have.

The first stop of the day was about 5 minutes from the motel.

The Manistique Lighthouse.

A striking lighthouse on a perfect morning; couldn't ask for much more.

After about an hour of driving and eating lunch at a saloon in Garden, Michigan; I found that the show Dallas sucks and then I found myself in Fayette, Michigan.

Fayette was once a company town for the Jackson Iron Company & also one of the Upper Peninsula's most productive iron-smelting operations. The town of Fayette had nearly 500 residents, a large portion being immigrants from Canada & Europe, working to produce pig iron from the raw materials of hardwood for fuel and limestone from the bluffs to purify the iron ore.

The decline of the charcoal iron market, coupled with cheaper and more productive facilities in Pittsburgh & Gary eventually led to Fayette's demise. The Jackson Iron Company concluded operations here in 1891. The property changed hands several times after that, until it was acquired by the state of Michigan in 1959.

The State of Michigan then worked to restore the historic town site in one its great state parks.

One of the highlights of Fayette is its location. Fayette sits on an isthmus of land that connects the Upper Peninsula's Garden Peninsula with a small piece of land extending out into Lake Michigan.

The day I went was perfect. Nice & windy, not too hot, not too cold.

The tract of land being so beautiful that I first walked the shoreline before even exploring actual Fayette.

The furnace buildings and the inside of the furnace areas.

A kiln for manufacturing charcoal.

The pillars are all that remain from the nearly 900 feet of dock that once existed at Fayette.

Another section of Fayette is where you would find the majority of the upper & middle class houses.

This was the doctor's house I believe.

I'm not sure if you were supposed to go into the doctor's house; but there was plenty of houses to go into that were nicely restored.

Inside of each of the houses contained information about the house.

The above picture pertained to an area where students found a chute with hidden morphine & concluded that a morphine addict had occupied the house.

Inside of the houses there was also rooms that were fully restored and you could only see through a pain of glass.

The above was a parlor where people would entertain guests or conduct funerals.
(There were no funeral homes back then)

The company store was not restored to the extent of the other buildings.

I didn't mind, I found that the other buildings sort of blended in, while this one was unique.

The machine shop had plenty of information in plaques and pages.

The above shows the houses present and the family that occupied each, the head of the household and any boarders. It also explained their age, job & place of birth.

Form where immigrants would pledge allegiance to the U.S.A.

Back in the day...

The sad truth.

Shiny rocks galore!

Fayette's graveyard was located about 2 kilometers from the town site.

I've never really seen a graveyard so forgotten. I was trying to respect the dead & it was quite hard to determine the pattern of the graves.

The only thing left was another kilometer walk to the "old church ruins."

Sort of lame.

Anyway, Fayette is an alright place to check out. I don't really like how many people were there, but I went on a perfect day. I'd have to say it is worth it regardless though, since the land is so beautiful.

Beware though, Lake Michigan is still cold in late June; I found out the hard way. I wanted to check off Lake Michigan from my "Great Lakes that I've swam in" list; so I threw on some shorts and headed down to the beach. There was one family there and they looked sort of perplexed that I was going swimming. Anyway, the beach was all rocks and I only got to about my waist and got my cold ass back to shore. The family asked about it being too cold and I let them know. The funny part of the conversation with them was where we discussed where we lived and they said they lived near Ann Arbor.

"Oh, where near Ann Arbor?" I asked.

"A small town; Pinckney," the lady replied.

"Oh, I know where that is!"

"Now, how do you know where Pinckney is?"

"Uh, well I have this hobby of going into abandoned buildings...and you see there's this plastic factory..."

The family looked strangely at me, we chatted a bit longer and I departed.

After leaving Fayette, I was amazed at how cold it was at every stop. Then I got to Marquette & saw this.

9° Celsius, late June.

The next stop was at the Holy Family Orphanage, located in Marquette, Michigan.

This orphanage, opened from 1915 to 1965 and fully abandoned in 1985. There were some tags in there from the 90's and I was skeptical, but they may be authentic.

Besides the standard opening / closing / use information, I could find very little other information. The majority of the sites that featured this building were focused on an urban myth that surrounds the place where supposedly a child was playing outside in a blizzard, caught pneumonia, and died subsequently.

According to the urban myth, the child was nailed to a board to show the other children what would happen to them if they played outside in the blizzard.

Right...sure. Maybe if this place was open from 1415 to 1465. I mean it could theoretically happen; but I just highly doubt it.

There's even stories of neighbors hearing children laughing and running at night!

Oh my god, because you know that teenagers would never go into an abandoned orphanage at night...and run around like scared fools!

Onto the actual building; I was quite impressed to find such a big and empty building in Marquette. I thought at the time that the floors were quite empty, but with it being abandoned for 22 years, there was actually quite a bit of history & items remaining.

The highlight of the school may have came about five minutes after getting in. I started to hear some noises and shuffling; I paused and listened. The voices were inaudible, so I decided to hide & figure out who was in the building with me...

"Jenny, go to the roof!" "Ok, Tim, which way? Tehehehe."

"Oh haha, it's teenyboppers," I thought to myself. I came out from the room I was inside and noticed a young girl in the hallway looking the other way. Coincidentally she turned and noticed me in the hallway and scared the living daylights out of herself. Her friends seeing her shock popped into the hallway soon after and noticed me as well.

"It's fine, I'm just a dude from Windsor; passing through and decided to check out the building." They seemed satisfied with this answer, so I threw some questions at them to get some information. After answering one or two, I could tell their discomfort - I'm pretty sure these 5'3'' teenage boys were intimidated by the strange tall man alone in the orphanage.

I told them to have a good time & went on my way exploring.

One thing I wanted to ask the teens was what the building was. I didn't do prior research, so I had figured it to be a school. But, figuring it to be a school; I was confused by these showers. Showers in a school aren't that uncommon, but why were there showers in a random bathroom?

(I later came to find out the history & use of the building from Nicole Rork & Nailhed. Big ups to them)

The orphanage held two great features. Firstly, this balcony. A stunning corridor connecting portions of the third floor. This would be the spot to have some drinks and chill with the tree cover in the summer. If only Marquette wasn't 9 hours from home.

Secondly, the indoor chapel. I thought this to be an auditorium; but another site that seems to know more about the building claims this to be the chapel area.

This is the view from the balcony.

Close up of the chapel detail.

There was also a small theatre. It was built in the same way as the chapel; but lacked the architectural detail and the lighting of the chapel.

The upper floors were a little less interesting. There was a unique system of stairs and also stairs that led clean out the building because of the vanished fire escape.

The Holy Family Orphanage sits awaiting development. The owner lives in Arizona and believes the building is worth an amount far greater than others believe. This has hindered development of the property and has caused the city to consider condemning the property so that it can be seized and redeveloped by others or simply demolished.

Sources: 1., 2. U.P. Investigators, 3. OldOrphanage, 4. SecretCrypt

I left Marquette and drove through the state of Wisconsin, the stunning city of Duluth, Minnesota and continued until I reached Baxter, Minnesota. It was there that I decided to retire for the night.

Onto Day 3.

Back to Main(e).