Old ghostly Northern Michigan orphanage being turned into apartments

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Developers say they're on track to convert an old orphanage in the Upper Peninsula into apartments.

Holy Family Orphanage in Marquette is 102 years old but has been vacant since 1981. The Mining Journal says renovations started last summer and could be completed by fall.

Black spruce trees that were in front of the building are being turned into furniture.

Amy Lerlie is executive director of Community Action Alger Marquette. She says the goal is to have affordable housing in downtown Marquette.

Fourteen apartments will be set aside for the homeless, disabled or people with special needs. Their share of the rent will depend on income.

Rent on the other units will depend on apartment size, family size and income. The development is called Grandview Marquette.

The old Marquette orphanage has a ghostly history

Opened in 1915, the orphanage housed mostly Native American Children who were removed from their tribe to accommodate their integration into white culture.

The orphanage had fully furnished classrooms, kitchens, dining halls and bathrooms.

Urban legend says the orphanage was run by abusive nuns and you can still hear the children playing.

Here's an account from U.P. Investigators:

Most of the windows and doors are locked and boarded up. The building has odd walls and crevices from being built onto over the years. Inside, there is very little light and it is totally dark on the lower two levels. It is rotten and falling apart. The layout of the building is very confusing; many of the floors have the same rooms and same colors painted in the rooms. There are multiple stairwells and several small side rooms, dumbwaiter shafts and an open elevator shaft. Many of the doors on the back of the building open into open space, as there is no longer a fire-escape. The atmosphere of the building is very menacing and depressing at the same time. Neighboring houses around the orphanage report seeing figures of children in the building, hear laughing or screaming, and reported different stories. Children were reported to have been beaten or killed, and one story is that a little girl caught pneumonia and died from playing outside in a blizzard/snow, and her body was put on display as a lesson to the other children of why not to play outside. Overall, it's not suprising why it's considered haunted; it's very large and very creepy.

About the Authors:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.