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Nopeming Sanatorium

Nopeming

Featured in Zenith City Style magazine's Arts & Culture:  

"In the early twentieth century, the plague of tuberculosis touched nearly every family in the country.  In 1912, Nopeming, the first county tuberculosis sanitarium in Minnesota, opened for patients.  The name derived from the Ojibwe, meaning "out in the woods."  The hope was that the sanitarium would be a healing place for the afflicted.  By the time the facility opened, nearly 200 people in the county had died from the disease.

By the 1950s, therapies for TB were almost 100% effective and Nopeming transitioned from being a refuge for TB patients into a nursing home.  Finally, in 2002, the facility closed.  It has been abandoned since to people, but for the elements and for the memories, the lives lost, and some say, the unsettled ghosts, time marches forward at the same time as it stands still within the crumbling walls and rooms of Nopeming.  

These arresting images, taken by a local photographer, who chooses to remain anonymous, show the decay of a past century, of a dreaded, incurable disease, and how society tried, with the means at its disposal and with the knowledge we had, to ease the lives of people in pain.  We didn't always get it right.  Some of what happened at Nopeming would certainly make us gasp in shock in our modern times.  The halls, the tunnels, the pieces of history left behind should remind us--more than the sensationalism of ghost stories--that people lived and died here--gentle souls and troubled souls.  Families wept here.  Mourners moved on from here.  It is, in keeping with the Ojibwe tradition, hallowed ground."  

The original article can be viewed here.  

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