Hidden In An Abandoned Orphanage

This is the third-floor hallway of an abandoned orphanage.


Opened in 1940 to house English children orphaned because of World War II, it continued operating until the mid-1960’s.


Now, bedrooms that once housed dozens of orphans at a time, pictured above and below, are empty and forgotten, and have been for over 40 years. The original green paint is faded and flaking…


The white-tiled bathrooms are in shambles:


Walking the halls, you’d never have any idea that children once called this home.


Except, for one clue: a beautiful hand-painted illustration, which still remains on one wall.


I can’t tell you how much I love this piece:


Delightfully whimsical, it’s made all the more poignant to think it was created as a small way of brightening the lives of children seeking refuge from the horrors of war.


One wonders how many children gazed on this with a smile, or perhaps slept beside it, dealing with a traumatic loss few could imagine.


A sun, a moon, and a star. I love the slight dots of brilliant white used to accentuate them:


It really is a wonderful piece, and if you liked it as much as I did…


…wait until you see the entire house:


Check back on Monday for the full tour…



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  1. Oh my – I’d love to know more of the history; why did those children end up there (were there really no relatives back home after the war?) and what happened to them afterwards. Im eager to see what more you have about this.

  2. As the mom of 5…2 home through adoption…this post speaks to my heart.

  3. Was this place built as an orphanage for British war orphans or did it have another function before the war? The architecture is neo-gothic, which might remind the British kids of home. Perhaps that was on purpose.

    Amazing find!

  4. whoa, you ALWAYS find the best places. Thanks for sharing them with us!

  5. Amazing. I used to live near a deserted ex-children’s home and it had a really weird feel to it. Creepy and sad at the same time.

  6. What a gorgeous place and how sad that it has fallen into disrepair.

  7. Beautiful. Haunting. How cool would it be if someone who stayed there as a child just happened to come across this site and saw these pictures? Wow. Mind you, they would be in their late 70s, early 80s, so I don’t know how Web savvy they would be. x

  8. Oh, I worked on a film that shot there. We used it as a boarding school exterior. I had no idea that we weren’t that far off.

  9. Where is this? Maybe the Bronx, Riverdale?

  10. What an awesome job you have. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  11. Thank you so much for posting this! How haunting and beautiful.

    I enjoy your blog so much. Thanks, also, for taking us on your adventures.


  12. Wow. You scored another out-of-this world find!

  13. Is that in NY? The murals are just amazing.

  14. That illustration is so charming it breaks my heart.

    As I was scrolling down the photos of those harsh, institutional rooms, and I read your comment about children calling this place home, I thought to myself, “Home? I doubt it. This is where they lived, but I can’t imagine anyone calling this place ‘home.'” and then I saw that painting, and I dissolved.

    I can’t wait for the rest of the post. Thank you!

  15. Wow. They should call TAPS to investigate that place Beautiful.

  16. Thanks for sharing! Those images remind me of the Oz book illustrations by John R. Neill.

  17. OH man! You are going to reveal the location aren’t you? Don’t be a tease….

  18. It looks a lot like the house that serves as both the Luthor mansion in Smallville and the school in the X-Men movies! I swear I’ve seen it in other movies, though.

  19. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that this building is in Britain rather than anywhere near New York. Sending British war orphans (were there even than many?) across the Atlantic in 1940 would have been very dangerous on account of German submarines. It’s more likely that they would have been relocated to rural parts of Britain – indeed, this was done in the cases of many non-orphaned children from London and other cities.

  20. That kinda made me tear up a bit. I think I needed that.

  21. I’ve been to this place a million times, but never knew this part of the history. They just featured this in a recent episode of Royal Pains (which I watch b/c they film locally and it’s always fun to spot places you know being featured as someplace completely different!) I was hoping that meant they were done with the renovations, but based on your awesome pics, I guess there’s still some work to be done. I hope they keep that mural–it’s so beautiful

  22. Peter, many children were sent over to the US from Britain. You might be interested in this article:


    “Childrens Overseas Reception Board (CORB) (May 1940)
    The War news inspired private groups in America and the Dominions to offer a safe haven for British children. There were groups in Austrlia and New Zealand willing to take in chidren, but the distances involved meant that it the overseas evacuations would mostly be to America and Canada. The Government estblished the Childrens Overseas Reception Board (CORB) (May 1940). It ws assigned the responsibility of organise the overseas evacuation of children to the Dominions. [Wallace] It was at this time that the long anticipated Gernmen Western offensive was launched(May 10). Within weeks the BEF had to be evacuted from Dunkirk an France fell. It looked to mny as if Britain as next and the Panzers would be moving up Whitehall. Parents had submitted 210,000 applications by July when the scheme was closed.”

  23. Interested in the same stuff. Very good pics. Even put picture taking with ghost hunting especially in old buildings??

  24. dont know why i must share this but i feel like it should be left alone, like the way it is now… me nd my frends plan on visiting an abandoned orphanage some day!!

  25. Sands Point Preserve

    This former Gold Coast estate was created by Howard Gould, son of railroad tycoon Jay Gould. At the turn of the last century, Howard purchased land in Sands Point to build a home for his wife, actress Katherine Clemmons. The first building to be constructed was the stable and carriage house. Disputes with original architect Abner Haydel led to his dismissal. The Goulds then retained Augustus Allen to design the building in the style of Ireland’s Kilkenny Castle. The castle, completed in 1904, was built using fossil-laden Onondaga limestone quarried from upstate New York. Now serving as the preserve’s visitor center, Castlegould was named after the original estate.

    The 100,000 square-foot building contained an equestrian arena, horse stalls, shops for blacksmiths, carpenters and painters, a veterinary dispensary, a kitchen, dining room and housing for some of the 200 workers. The estate’s many out-buildings included a magnificent greenhouse complex, a dairy barn and farm, a hunting lodge, guest houses, and a beachfront casino with an indoor pool.

    Personal problems caused Howard and Katherine to separate in 1909, but Howard continued to develop the estate. He commissioned architects Hunt and Hunt to design an English Tudor-style manor as his main residence, which was completed in 1912. The massive 40-room house, built of granite and Indiana limestone, is 225 feet long and 125 feet wide, with an 80 foot high tower. At a cost over $1 million, it was once considered one of the most opulent homes on Long Island’s Gold Coast.

    Howard Gould rarely spent time in the grand mansion he had created. Plagued by rifts in his family, he moved to England and sold the estate to Daniel Guggenheim in 1917. Daniel and Florence Guggenheim purchased the Gould estate, including all of the furnishings, for a bargain of only $600,000. The Guggenheim family had made their fortune in a variety of mining enterprises. Two of Daniel’s brothers, William and Isaac, already had estates in Sands Point. The Guggenheims named the main residence “Hempstead House” since it overlooks Hempstead Harbor.
    In 1923, Daniel gave 90 acres of the estate to his son Harry on his marriage to Caroline Morton. Harry built his home on the bluffs of Long Island Sound in the style of a French Norman manor house. He called it Falaise, French for “cliff.”

    Daniel Guggenheim became interested in aviation through the influence of Harry, and he established foundations to finance and promote aeronautics and aerospace science. Orville Wright, Charles Lindbergh, and Dr. Robert Goddard visited frequently at Hempstead House and Falaise. When Daniel died in 1930, his widow Florence found Hempstead House much too large to live in by herself, so she built a smaller residence on the estate. She later sold off the furnishings of Hempstead House at auction.

    At the onset of World War II, Florence opened Hempstead House as a home for European refugee children, but that plan did not prove feasible. In 1942 at the urging of her son, she donated Hempstead House, Castlegould, and 162 acres of the estate to the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, who later sold the property to the US Navy. The Naval Training Devices Center set up laboratories to design and test electronic equipment for Polaris submarines, jet aircraft, and space flight. When the Training Center moved to Orlando, Florida in 1967, the property was declared surplus; the federal government transferred most of it to Nassau County in 1971 for the purpose of recreation. Also in 1971, Harry Guggenheim died. In accordance with his will, most of his 90-acre estate, including the fully furnished Falaise mansion, was deeded to Nassau County to be opened as a museum. These two acquisitions, in effect, restored most of the former Gould/ Guggenheim estate as Sands Point Preserve.

  26. Nice pictures and a intriguing mural… but please don’t feel you have to invent a spooky back story to make the photos more interesting. Hempstead House in the Sands Point Preserve (that you’re careful not to name) was a Naval training base. It wasn’t an orphanage. Neither was it abandoned – rather sold. And it’s currently being refurbished, which as you’ll know is how you got permission to take a look.

  27. i smoked some weed on the balcony of this building the other day with my boys!!!!!!

  28. My mother & aunt grew up in this place. I just recently found pictures & stories telling some horrible accounts. They were placed there because of an ABUSIVE!! home. The state placed the 2 of them here. 4 boys were seperated & placed in orphanages in Ohio,Indiana. 1 sister was adopted & grew up in Decatur,IL. The other sister was placed in Ohio. My mom Shirley died in 1979 at 39. My aunt Dottie died 4 yrs ago. She was a very tortured soul. I only wish I knew how horrible life was for them. She was just in so much pain. She left old paper articles & “clues” 4 me to find. I finally feel I can set my mom & my aunt’s soul free to be at peace. By telling their story. I might not be spelling or using proper puncuation etc…… Forgive me please. Everyone has passed on. My purpose is to tell their stories over & over again.