Duluth, MN


***Note that Nopeming has been locked down. A caretaker lives on site, there are security patrols, and many a trespasser has spent a night in jail for “just checking out” the hospital on a hill.***


It has been more than half a decade since I last worked on Nopeming…

Back then the story had been read 8,000 times, making it the most popular post on the site. For good reason too, I suppose, as the hospital’s history is near to our own—much nearer than many places I have documented over the years.

Nopeming as Urban Legend

I confess that it is also true that Nopeming has come to take on the role of the creepy house down the block. Off-limits, scary, probably haunted.

Nopeming’s history has been twisted since its closure into something grotesque by those who cannot distinguish between the forbidden and remote with the surreal and gothic.

Urban legends about the hospital run amok in YouTube clips, forum comments, and coffee shops. The boiler house burned bodies. The hospital is an insane asylum. The surrounding forest obscures unmarked graves… and so on.

Goals and Format

This article is a work in progress, and meant to be a prolonged effort concerned with a few ideas. First, I want to set the record straight, and create a public space for the facts of Nopeming to be found and disseminated. Second, I want to have a place for me to (selfishly) explore my own fascination with the hospital, for if it is not haunted, it is certainly haunting. In doing so, I will do something I usually avoid on this site, and talk about my direct experiences. Third, I want this to be a case study for exploring the cultural space that abandonments create; contrary to popular opinion, these spaces are not vacuous.

For the researchers and local buffs there will be plenty of history. For the adventurers there will be stories. For the theorists there will be philosophy. Hell, I’ll even throw in a couple ghost stories, for people who like those.

Because of my aforementioned selfishness in writing this article, I encourage others to be equally self-minded and send in their stories. It is my plan to publish readers’ stories in the future here on Substreet.

Thank You…

…to Maryanne and Tony for giving me the time and resources to stitch this story together on my research breaks for Lost Duluth… to Raab, Hibby, Fantom, and satellite members of RTD… and to my readership, which encourages my ongoing research. Also special thanks to Rachel Phoenix who helped me with the prose.