Freeman Falls / Alexian Brothers Novitiate

Awoke this morning to some questionable weather – lots of thunderstorms in the area but very scattered in nature.  Packed up camp & headed out to my first stop at Freeman Falls.


I originally stopped here the day before (6/29) and found this was private property.  Notice the sunshine from these first 2 photos?

Luckily there was an email address posted on the sign at the gate.  Send a message & received word back later in the day, very nice people.  Decided to return on 6/30 as I was heading further north in the coming days.

Please be aware of the “No Trespassing” signs on the building and respect the property owners so they may continue to grant public access.  Be good stewards people!  [Disclaimer: Don’t trespass.  I do not advocate breaking the law and take no responsibility if you choose not to email the very gracious property owners.]

Alexian Brothers Novitiate

The property itself holds an old mansion and is generally referred to as the Alexian Brothers’ Novitiate or the Gresham Novitiate.  Here’s the view from afar standing next to the river.  The building was damaged some time ago by fire and now stands in disrepair.

Here’s a closer shot – hard to get everything in frame even with a relatively wide angle lens.  Notice those friendly clouds?  Zeus was angrily firing lightning bolts at me so I didn’t stick around very long.

Touring abandoned/ghost buildings isn’t really my jam but naturally these things draw curiosity.  I only poked my head inside the doorways to catch a peek.  Everything is gutted and crumbling.

Another angle from the opposite doorway.  Quite a bit of graffiti but otherwise just gutted from the fires.  Would be quite amazing to see it restored.

Freeman Falls

Just a short walk through the grass from the novitiate you can find Freeman Falls (sometimes also called Monastery Falls, Novitiate Falls, or Alexian Falls).  Nearest the mansion you can see the end of the falls from the banks of the Red River.

Not far away you can walk/climb up the rocks for a closer view.  Here is the middle falls section which is most substantial.

And here is a view at the top.  Overall drop is between 10-20 feet total.  No kayakers today but I’ve read this is a popular location.

Bonus Photos

On the grass closer to the novitiate than the river was a huge snapping turtle.  I didn’t get very close because it seemed like he did not enjoy my presence.

My visit was cut short thanks to very strong thunderstorms rolling through.  I knew it was time to leave when lightning strikes were in the 2-Mississippi count range.  This is a view after driving 1/2 mile up the road and it would continue nearly all day as I drove to Florence County a few hours north from here.


Here’s a short video of the falls, mansion, and storm clouds.  Enjoy!

Lat = 44.8445206 , Long = -88.7367249 -- Show at Google Maps

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