Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Abandoned Places: Orphanages

Orphanages are not buildings I can say I'm sorry to see closed down. Despite any good intentions ever ascribed to having them or opening them or whatever, I don't think you will find one in existence that doesn't have horrible stories associated with it. Which is not to say that I think it's better to leave kids to live on the streets; I don't believe that all. I do believe that when an orphanage can be shut down because a better system has been put in place it is a good thing. So...
Mostly, this will just be a series of photos of abandoned orphanages. There are too many stories to try to recap them, and they are all too similar too choose between. Let's just say that none of the stories are good, and many of the buildings are supposed to be haunted. You can imagine the rest.

This is St. John's in Goulburn in Australia:

This is the Greek orphanage in Buyukada, Turkey. It is one of the world's largest wooden buildings:

The Philadelphia Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum (orphan asylum is such a curious and ominous word, don't you think?):
Photos courtesy of  Opacity.

A Kindersanitorium (another interesting term) in Germany:
Photos courtesy of  Opacity.

Newsham Park Hospital in England. Previously Liverpool Seaman's Orphan Institution. Now abandoned:

And I don't know what this one is. Evidently, I didn't save my links or didn't put them in the correct place.


  1. That last one looks more like a prison. I'm sure for some of the kids, it was one.
    Lexa posted about an orphanage today as well.

  2. My father lived in an orphanage for a few years. The stories my grandmother tells about him in there are all horrible. He doesn't really say much about it.

    But a 5 story wooden orphanage. I'd be a nervous wreck in there.

  3. I was about to say these were pretty much what I expected until I got to that awful last picture.

    WHAT IS THAT? "Here, I know you lost your parents, but at least you can stay in a spooky ramshackle building where we have painted pictures of soulless beasts on the walls of your bedroom."

    Have you thought of the irony (?) of a building for abandoned kids being itself abandoned?

  4. The black and white photos gave me the chills. Thanks to Hollywood, I can imagine the hauntings at all of these places.

  5. The drawings in that last one would give me nightmares. I wonder if the one they used to film The Cider House Rules is abandoned now?

  6. Wow. Some of those are so cheerless. They look like castles and prisons.

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  7. Very well intentioned, but the reality is many have been places of abuse and neglect. A sad state of affairs indeed and very creepy buildings.

  8. I can only imagine the sadness that echoes through those places. Either that or fiction has taught me that all old school orphanages abused children.

  9. Yikes! I love the look of these old places, but those names? Those are kind of freaky. I can hardly imagine some of the awful stories about them.

    True Heroes from A to Z

  10. The pictures on the wall in that very last photo are creepy as all get-out.

  11. Not that I think we should still be using orphanages (because I don't), but just to throw this out there: My great-grandmother lived at an orphanage probably a lot like the above with some of her siblings for a time when she was a child (this would be around 1895-1900 sometime), and she spoke of it as a positive experience. They were left there by their mom because the family didn't have money to support them, which was pretty typical of the Victorian orphan situation. (Most kids in orphanages didn't have dead parents, rather they had destitute parents, much like today's situation with foster kids.) I suspect for my granny that not being homeless and being fed regularly, as well as having lots of kids to socialize with, was a pretty good deal for that time in her life.

    Another aside: When I was researching Victorian orphanages a few months ago, I found that they often had awesome names, my favorite of which was "Home for the Friendless" which IIRC was in Philadelphia maybe.

  12. Alex C: I saw that. A pretty horrible place, that one.

    Rusty: Sounds the way some of my relatives were with WWII. They just wouldn't talk about it.

    Briane: Well, I think the beasts were graffiti from after it closed, but I'm not actually sure.
    And, yeah, I thought about that.

    Elsie: Oh, they're probably not -all- haunted.

    Pat: I bet that info is available somewhere.

    D Biswas: This is very true.

    Maurice: Or was to enforce child labor. Not that that is not abuse, but it's probably not what most people think of when they think of abuse.

    David: There was certainly some of that going around.

    Crystal: Yeah, I avoided those.

    RAJIV: Probably, yes.

    Rebekah: They remind me of Where the Wild Things Are.

    Sarah: Some of the notations about the various orphanages, especially for the boys, said they had fond memories of the camaraderie they had there with the other boys, but those were mixed in with horrible memories of abuse.

    (I should have remembered to look that one up!)

  13. I agree with you on the closing of orphanages. A few pictures remind me of the orphanage in the Jane Eyre. Loved the pics and have to agree with several look like prisons.

  14. Logically, I'd think that the state could keep tabs on one large facility better than the hundreds (of thousands) of foster homes that take children today. But since when is life logical?

    The place you can't identify is an orphanage in Rome, but I couldn't find the name.

  15. G_G: I don't remember that. It's been too long since I read Jane Eyre.

    Lexa: Oh! That's right! I do remember looking at one in Rome. That must be it. Hmm... now to figure out where I found it.

    I agree with your logic, but there is also the more one-to-one attention that a foster family is supposed to be able to give.

  16. Those look like prime locations for scare stories to take place in.

  17. I sometimes have creepy dreams about large wooden buildings, but they're not orphanages.

    The orphanage has been the inspiration for some fine literature and movies. And then there are the musicals like Annie and Oliver. I guess they made the orphans life look pretty bleak.

    A Few Words
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  18. Dreadful places, but what do they do these days? I know a lot of kids are fostered, but for those that aren't where do they house them these days?

  19. Lee: Large wooden buildings can be cool and creepy.

    Jo: There are group homes for kids waiting to be fostered or who have proven to be too problematic for the general foster family.

  20. Creepy photos (well, I actually think the Newsham Park Hospital/Liverpool Seaman's one is kind of a good-looking building). I agree that "orphan asylum" has an ominous sound to it.

  21. What, really, is the difference between a group home and an orphanage?

  22. Jessica: It is a cool looking building. I think the last one is cool looking, too.

    Jo: Well, you can't just go and drop your kid off at a group home. And group homes don't make money off of you.

  23. My friend used to volunteer at a boys' orphanage in Japan, and he said it was a very nice facility. The problem, though, is that a lot of the children there couldn't be legally adopted.

    There's this strange thing in Japan called "Aka-chan Posuto" or "Baby Post"... it's basically a silver box outside of hospitals with a stork or some such thing that people who can no longer care for their infants can leave their children in anonymously. It was created to curb dumpster or box abandonment, as hospitals can quickly see to the needs of the child, but there's a huge flaw in the system.

    Japan's entire citizenry system is based on family trees. The children are abandoned without any identifying documents, which means they aren't, and can never become, REAL Japanese citizens. This means no passport, no leaving the country (ever), and of course, no adoption.

    It is a super sad element of their society that most Japanese people aren't even aware of. :(

  24. Alex H: It is always sad to me when children are punished for the "sins" of their parents. It's not their fault.