Known more for its afterlife of arson and anarchy, it insists to exist. It built cars between 1903 and 1958, only taking breaks to help America win its wars. Since then it has become an icon of America’s manufacturing decline.
People live on top of it now, ever since the Francis Hotel was turned into apartments. There’s a chunk of the building that nobody can get into though, and it has been that way for a while. St. Paul’s lost stage.
For Pillsbury to be abandoned in Minneapolis is like the Gateway Arch to be rusting from the inside out and passed by hundreds—unnoticing. This is Mill City, and this is the Mill of Mill City, and the people pass on, not even looking up to ask why these three square blocks on the river are the way they are.
A private tuberculosis hospital outside the Twin Cities, preserved through reuse, resilient despite neglect.
Sentinel grain elevators watch over the Manitoba prairie: its ghost towns, its defunct flour mills, and its endless fields.
I like abandoned things–factories, hospitals, schools–and now, I can add ‘abandoned kittens’ to that list. Oh, and here’s one of Minneapolis’ former animal feed mills, one that has roots back in 1916. Now, which do you think is cuter? Honestly, I’m torn…
Not like this, not anywhere, not anymore. This is a unique place–an old temple of metallurgy in the Upper Peninsula; “God’s Country,” everyone insisted. This is an abandoned monument to a god of fire, of copper, and for me, of time travel.
The picture from 1919 says it all; when an F5 tornado rages through the town leveling everything around it, this flour mill stands, anchored to the river, indomitable.
Miners and their bosses watched helplessly as the mine flooded with water over and over again. When all was said and done, they had probably mined more quicksand than iron. Rogers Mine was started in 1910 but was allowed to flood in 1937, though its shops were used well into the 1950s.
Serving those who were turned away because of race and income, training generations of nurses, and now collapsing into the streets of St. Louis out of neglect. Now that raindrops freefall from the clouds above to the basements in the shadows without touching a floor, wall, bed or desk, it’s clear that this city lost an opportunity and a landmark.
If there was something I didn’t think I needed more of in my life, it was grain elevators. After growing up a midwest explorer in a place with the nickname ‘Mill City’, I was tired of these concrete towers; I thought I had seen it all. Santa Fe taught me exactly how wrong I was. Climb with me 120 feet above Chicago and see why…