Saying Goodbye

While this may not be my typical post, I recently lost the man that was always the biggest supporter of my photography, even if he didn’t quite understand my passion for abandoned buildings and decay, and it would be wrong to not take a minute to talk about him.

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From day one, I have been my grandpa’s girl.  Even though we don’t have many pictures together Grandpa, I treasure all the images we do have and I will continue to think of you every time I pick up my camera.  As a kid, you let me help build your fence, wear your hat and “smoke” your cigars, you taught me to fish and how to swing across the monkey bars, and you never got tired of the hours I wanted to spend building domino towers (just to knock them all over) and playing Chinese checkers.

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When you started picking me up after school, you would always bring my favorite snacks and if you didn’t have anything that day, we always stopped at the nearest gas station to pick something up.  Even though it was complicated, you always tried to help me with my math homework, even though it usually resulted in us both being so confused it was hopeless.  You helped me build a mousetrap for school that didn’t hurt the mice, just because I couldn’t stand the thought of them dying and you made sure that every other complicated project I came up with managed to be created, no matter how long it took.  When it came to me, there were no limits to your patience and support.

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As time went on, you continued to be the father figure that I needed and you supported me through every phase of my life. From my first pocket camera to my current Canon 6D, you were the biggest supporter of my photography and always made sure I had the tools to continue growing and learning in my passion.   And when I was hospitalized for my depression, you never made me feel like I had anything to be ashamed of.  In fact, you encouraged me to find comfort and relief in my photography and that is exactly what I did.

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There is no one in this world that is quite like you grandpa and I honestly do not know who I would be today without all the love and support you gave me.  Saying goodbye is the hardest thing I have ever had to do and it’s so incredibly hard to accept that you will no longer be here with your amazing hugs and enormous heart.

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I will never forget your love and all the things you’ve taught me about being a good person with a heart full of dedication, drive, and passion for the life I have been given. You will always be in my heart and I will spend forever striving to be a person you would continue to be proud of. With love forever, your little stinker ♡

Pokegama Sanatorium

After spending years actively working to fight the tuberculosis epidemic, Dr. Henry Longstreet Taylor found himself frustrated with the slow pace of progress in his home state of Minnesota and decided to take matters into his own hands.  In 1905, he utilized his own money to open a private institution on the outskirts of Pine City.  It would inherit its name from the lake whose shores would border the property.

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Photo Credit: Minnesota’s Tuberculosis Sanatoriums (mnsans.com)

Spanning 35 acres, Pokegama Sanatorium would privately cater to a limited 36 patients. With a price of $30 to $50 a week, it was a staggering amount when compared to the county sanatoriums that rarely charged the maximum $7.  With this price tag though, came a long list of luxurious amenities never seen in the overcrowded and understaffed county facilities.

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The original 15 open-air cottages were comfortably warm with steam heat and woolen blankets, private bedrooms, and bathrooms that only had to be shared between two or three people.  A private farm catering only to the sanatorium provided high quality food and the reception hospital added in the early 1920’s would have many modern amenities including elevators, a long-distance telephone system, and a high class surgical suite.

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With ground being gained in the fight against tuberculosis and World War II creating a shortage of both supplies and staff, Pokegama would officially close its doors in 1944.  Soon after shutting its doors, Pokegama was sold to a group called the Redemptorist Fathers, who intended to use it as a school for priests.

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The site would again exchange hands and under the name “Pine Manor” it would function as a chemical dependency center.  Compared with its Sanatorium predecessor, Pine Manor provided a relatively cheap treatment cost of roughly $2,000 compared to other privately owned centers in the state that charged anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000.  Even with this advantage, Pine Manor would only last until 1986 when financial troubles would cause it to close its doors for one last time.

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All that remains of the once sprawling estate is a shell of the once grand brick reception hall.  Covered in graffiti and filled with the debris of old furniture and nights of partying, the hospital is certainly in its final stages of life.  The peeling paint in the common asylum colors and walls covered in large windows still maintain a beautiful quality though.

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After more than 20 years spent in empty and lonely solitude, how many more years does this forgotten sanatorium have left?  Will it live to see another 20 years or does it have a limited amount of time left on the its clock?

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