Sunset through a stained window in the headhouse made the floor feel like a heavy industrial Disney movie.
It’s a small world… look at it.
The Port Arthur elevator row, as seen from the edge of Fort William.
Inside the office was a small furnace and a collection of mechanical belts. You can see “SERVICE AT COST” and “POOL 168” in the background.
After a short rainfall douses the mill in downtown Fergus Falls, the river next to the brick walls swells and the sounds of water overtakes the echos of the nearby bars. Reflections are on the foundation of the former distribution and rail building.
One of the smallest of the many elevators in Thunder Bay, this little elevator held corn for the glucose and starch lines.
The spectacular, if precarious, view of downtown Minneapolis from the roof of ADM Annex 4. Note the great messages left by various graffiti artists who made it to the spot.
Looking at the top of the Washburn Crosby elevator from a mirrored window in the Guthrie Theater.
The iconic outline of a prairie sentinel. Quintessential rural industrial architecture.
“Against the blue sky, its rusting central silos look like rising smoke meeting the last minutes of a sunset. These give way to a corrugated night sky of blue gray, punched-through with staggered four-pane windows, all glassless.”
“Five Roses” was the brand of flour that Lake of the Woods marketed. Later, this became another Manitoba Pool elevator. Notice the “POO” up top? It’s missing the ‘L’…
The shadow of the Fairbanks scale on the window of the office of Isabella B.
Beside the half-demolished Thunder Bay Elevator shops and offices (brick building) are some rusting fishing boats. A little bit of SWP #7 is seen in the upper right.
This corner of the building was the coal room, used to feed the two big boilers inside. The steam equipment has been replaced with electric, so this section may not have changed much in the past decades.
The side of the Boissevain Manitoba Pool elevator has a mural showing the equipment and inside the structure! Film: Fuji FP100C.
Two Buffalo, NY terminal elevators.
Looking out of Kurth Malt a the neighbors–the silos past Electric Steel are those of the Froedert Malt Company, now gone.
The truck scale is closed at Lena, MB.
Looking up the Dominion Elevator’s tower. I especially like this picture because it shows how so much of the electrical conduits wound round through the mostly hollow space.
A sentinel stands watch over an abandoned Hannah, ND house. Medium Format.
An old name for an older elevator, as seen from an abandoned rail spur.
In the middle of Electric Steel, dust collector vents cross-cross out of sight.
Looking across at the Cargill elevator.
In the days when steam locomotives required immense amounts of water, water towers such as this served the rail line as crucial rail infrastructure. This specific tower was built in 1903 for Canadian Pacific and is one of the last of its kind. Inside is a giant cedar-lined tank with a 40,000 gallon capacity. Note the rails are gone, but the filler spout remains.
Isabella A (left) and B (right) were built in 1910 and 1913, respectively.
The offices for the Five Roses elevator have long been boarded. To the left you can see the Manitoba Pool Elevator slogan, “Service at Cost”, meaning they would not make profit off farmers and dues.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
One evening I spent an hour lighting tea candles through the tunnels below the elevator. It was a magical transformation.
Electric Steel’s bins reflect the sunset.
Connecting the ground and the sky.
Looking down at the Port Arthur Ore Dock from Manitoba Pool Elevator #3. The conveyor belts are gone and King Elevator is in the far distance.
Every timber pillar was numbered for maintenance purposes.
Looking up at the LEMP malting plant elevator. Look at that BRICKWORK!
A defunct UGG elevator in Killarney, not far from where the Harrisons (of Holmfield, MB and Harrison Milling) once operated a small elevator. Medium Format.
Dust explosions were a real risk for grain mills. These funnels helped to filter the air in the mill.
The sexiest feature of Kurth is this steel arch over the silos on its south side. The manholes in the floor open to the silos directly, and flimsy grates might catch a hurried worker. Grates were removable so that workers could descend into the concrete tubes, so a few are missing today.
Sunrise in SEMI. The shadow of Kurth Malt is cast across ADM-Delmar #1. Clouds behind ADM-Delmar #4 light up. It’s cold and the air smells like train grease.
Looking across a skyway at the dust-collecting funnels, one of the few pieces of equipment that haven’t been completely decimated by time and the elements.
A broken scale in Isabella A, next to an old wood stove.
HDR matrix panorama. Looking from the grain elevators, now doomed, toward the city between the flour mill’s water tower and tile elevator’s neon sign, the old and new economies seem almost united. Yet the financial centers rise in reality to shadow the now-abandoned industry and manufacturing. The way of things, I’m told.
Shadows of distant power lines are carried to the concrete by street lights.
Looking up at the network of elevators at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Its train shed doors stand open under the void where conveyors should be. You can see where they used to connect on the left and right. The outside of the building is covered in racist graffiti.
The flour mill (rear) and its elevators. The taller elevator was moved here in 1955, when the Harrisons bought it from Federal, who declared it surplus. The smaller elevator replaced an earlier smaller warehouse in 1926. Taken shortly after dawn. This one picture made the drive worth it, for me. Medium Format.
I love the ‘hats’ on the top of the SWP-4 headhouse. FP-100C.
The tower of Dominion certainly dominates the elevator row.
I never knew that all those elementary school balance bar exercises were for a very serious purpose: not falling to one’s death in the event they uncover lost Chicago history.
All of the bucket conveyors crashed on this work floor when their casings were scrapped. Note all of the valves to open the grain flow.
Looking out across the elevator row from Portland Huron’s roof. Don’t you love the color of the sky?
This elevator was built in 1922 and was used until the passing rails were removed in the mid-1970s.
The fantastic red elevator that is Pool #61, built 1928.
The new concrete workhouse, as seen through chickenwire.
The overgrown offices serve no one at this former Federal Elevator in Snowflake, MB.
The control room for Manitoba Pool Elevator #3 was the most modern of any I saw in Thunder Bay. Apparently, 25 men were working on the day this elevator shut down.
A wounded flour mill, muscled into the corner to keep out of the way.
Silverton’s elevator, pictured here, is still active.
Elevator B, used by a local farmer, stands behind an old farm truck at the edge of town.
That floor isn’t dirt–it’s old rotting grain that’s formed into a sort of moldy mud.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
A stray cat at hunts mice along the elevator row at Inglis, MB. Film: Fuji FP100C.
Looking at ADM-Delmar #4, #1 and Kurth from the Meal Storage Elevator at sunset on one of the warmer days of December. Note the graffiti “United Crushers” that gave the big elevator its common name among locals. Also, Harris Machinery is sitting in the lower-left corner, awaiting word of its next use.
The backside of Inglis’ elevator row, a Canadian National Heritage site, where 5 elevators still stand over CPR tracks.
One of my favorite shots of the headhouse at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4, with one seagull threading the needle. The socket holes on the frame got blown out thanks to my bad developing, but I like the effect. Arista 100.
The ghost town of Lauder, Manitoba. It’s seen better days, but I bet the TV reception on the flatlands is great.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
Thunder Bay Elevator, now stands without a headhouse. Around the silos, a few shacks still stand.
Chutes connect the bottoms of the silos to a conveyor belt.
Outbuildings for Tilston’s Five Roses elevator.
The old offices for the Oberon Elevator are defunct, but seem to be holding up to the brutal prairie snows and winds. Medium Format.
2013. As part of the Head House’s facelift, it’s gotten new windows. However, you can now still see where the conveyor-way connected this building with the elevators behind it in the upper right of the image.
Behind the barge unloader (a Webster for those grain tech nerds out here) that used to extract grain from docked boats. The ladders are fun to climb, even though they get warped and wavy in places. High in the elevator would have been a crane engine that would lift the unloader, packed with a bucket conveyor, while workers would manipulate the direction of the spout with ropes manually. The buckets would rotate, scraping and elevating the grain into the silos above. It’s a rare piece of equipment for the Great Lakes.
The most pointless, beautiful and nuclear-bomb-proof catwalk I’ve been on to date. It goes between two high levels in its own bottom-lit concrete capsule in the center of the tallest, thickest building. Hang on, we’re riding this one out.
A humble prairie elevator at Fannystelle, Manitoba. What a name!
One of my favorite signs, informing workers about to descend into the open-top grain bins about basic procedures. This was in ADM-Annex 1 (connected to the cleaning house via skyway), so it will never be seen again, unless the sign lands luckily when the elevator is demolished.
One of the principal businesses in McConnell was a farm implement and lumber store. This is too new to have been bought there, but I like that it’s still on the edge of town. It’s more comfortable than the emptiness beyond, that used to be a little prairie town.
A buck-fifty shot for a postcard stand. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
National Elevator, restored as a museum piece. It was built in 1922.
Looking across the ruined skyway that connects the two elevators. I wanted to walk across it, but my exploring parter held me back.
I am sure even the workers had trouble remembering which pillar hid the phone. Note the “ON” written on the electrical socket, too.