Nopeming
Sanatorium
Duluth, MN

Conclusion & Gallery

Please Respect Nopeming

Ghost hunters, televised or amateur, are not my enemies. They have as much a stake in history as any other person, if not more. Unfortunately, because there is a positive correlation between places we as a culture find creepy, and places that are off limits, there is often a problem with wannabe paranormal investigators vandalizing places they’re supposed to be investigating.

The St. Louis County Sheriff constantly patrols the property looking for trespasses.
The St. Louis County Sheriff constantly patrols the property looking for trespasses.

I know that people have been arrested at Nopeming in the act of breaking windows to gain entry for their investigations. These things happened before I ever went there, and they won’t stop until the building has tenants or security. Nevertheless, I urge everyone to respect this place, if not for its history, maybe for the memory of the people that died there. If you are out with a group of friends that want to ‘break into’ the place, tell them it’s not a good idea.

Besides, Duluth Police and the St. Louis County Sherriff patrol it at least daily every day of the year. Many a curiosity seeker has spent their Sunday night in lockup for getting too close to Nopeming.

Instead of spending the weekend in a holding cell, enjoy the history and photos and stories that I posted here, and think of all the stories untold when you pass that golden building on the side of a hill when you drive up I-35.

There are stories that I could not in include, there is history that I have not heard, and that was never recorded. I am a historian, a scientist, an artist… not a storyteller (as much as I try).

The old boilers of the steam plant have been mostly gutted to remove loose asbestos.
The old boilers of the steam plant have been mostly gutted to remove loose asbestos.

Nonetheless, I had a story to share about this place, and am as happy about any interest generated in Nopeming as I am grateful to anyone who wishes to preserve it for the future.

It seems that everyone who has touched Nopeming has also been touched by it. Even knowing the facts, human and statistical, the place is still as mysterious, and as haunting, as when I first saw its shape behind a curtain of trees. This feeling is neither special, nor is it explainable.

If any of that intrigue can be passed to you, the reader, through these stories, then it was well worth the effort (and the risk) of sending them into the world. Places are a lot like people; they do not live in years, they live in stories.

This is one reason why history is so important—it makes things matter. It qualifies social value; it is cultural; it is personal. Places bleed memories.

So, simply, remember Nopeming.

Other creepy places on Substreet.org:

1. A massive empty insane asylum in rural Minnesota, Fergus Falls State Hospital.

2. North Dakota’s only tuberculosis hospital, so big that it appeared on the map as its own town, San Haven State Hospital.

3. The abandoned orphanage in rural Michigan, where Native American children were isolated from their families and taught to be more white, Holy Family Orphanage.

References »

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  • Contractors are trying to have it ready by dec. 1. (1911, Sep 1). Duluth Herald. Retrieved from http://archive.org/stream/sept1191103dulu/sept1191103dulu_djvu.txt
  • Foster, B. (1911). Saint Paul medical journal, 13, 178. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=WUOgAAAAMAAJ
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  • NEMHC. (2003). Nopeming sanatorium: Records. Duluth: NEMHC. Retrieved from http://www.d.umn.edu/lib/nemhc/guides/s6046.htm
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