I've decided to blog about some places I've been. I can't possibly paint them all, but I'd still like to share my adventures! I'm going to start with a recent one, a small tuberculosis sanatorium here in Minnesota that I visited in February of 2014.
First, a bit of history. The sanatorium was opened in 1916. The cost was $7 per week for county residents, and $10 per week for non-residents. Here is a photo from when it opened:
It closed as a TB sanatorium in 1953, and was remodeled and re-opened as a nursing home in 1954. It was closed in 1968. Another small but great photo I found on the web, of patients in their beds in the solarium that was across the south (front - facing the lake) of the building.
This was a place I had tried to get to before. The first time was in January of 2004. But there was a dog. There are lots of dogs there. It's next to a lake, and the lake is surrounded by lake houses, each one of which is populated entirely by dogs. OK there might be people too, but I never saw any people. I took these in 2004, before my friend was chased back to the car by a dog.
So this time I had a better idea. I would approach from the lake. This was a good idea, I thought. It looked good on the map, anyway...
I have a lot of good ideas. I'm not sure this was one of them. First of all, it was a lot further than it looked on the map. Second of all, it was cold. It has to be cold for my city-dwelling bum to go walking around on a lake. People who go walking around on lakes are either very daring, or very insane. I try to be neither, usually. But it was colder than cold. The weather thing said it was zero, but it felt colder than that. I had pockets and boots full of those hand warmer things, and by the time we had trekked across the lake to the spot where we realized getting up the bank would be almost impossible, I already couldn't feel my hands or feet! So like I just mentioned, third of all, not so easy climbing up the bank.
But we made it! Despite the cold and the thigh-deep snow drifts, we made it! And it was everything I'd been waiting 10 years to see! I'm a huge fan of sanatoria of all kinds, particularly tuberculosis. I find the history of diseases and the treatment thereof fascinating! And you probably already know I like lonely, abandoned things.
People always ask me if anything strange or ghostly ever happens when I go to places. The answer is almost always no. First of all, what ghost would be insane enough to be out in that kind of weather? But there was something, this time. Something weird. I can't say it was a ghost; I can't say what it was. But it happened right as I took this photo:
This appears to have been the kitchen. It is straight back from the front door, on the opposite (north) side of the building. As I walked into the room, I could have sworn something flew right past me, from one side to the other. I think it went from right to left, though now that it's been a little over a year, my memory isn't as clear. At first I thought it was a dog. The dogs were everywhere, barking, all around the building, the entire time we were there. They sounded so close at times. With all the windows and doors so open, I thought for sure one would see us and come in. I thought one had come in a door on one side, and run out on the other. Only there were no doors in that room. They were only windows. Couldn't have been a dog. It seemed big though, like a dog, and fast. But there was nothing there. I suppose it could have been a bird. There were no signs of any wildlife except the dogs. And what bird in its right mind would have been out in that? I don't know. Just that when it happened, I admit I got a little freaked out! I mean, more freaked out than I already was, being convinced a pack of wild dogs was about to descend upon us at any moment...
Here is a gallery of some of the photos I took there. I hope you enjoy looking at them from a warm place, as much as I enjoyed taking them and just by a hair getting away frost- and dog-bite free!