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.
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.
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.
Builder of drill presses for Studebaker, South Bend Lathe, Oliver Plow and even Notre Dame. This century-old foundry and factory was recently demolished, without so much as a blip on the internet. I’m here to fix that.
I go step by step through the coke making process, down to the job descriptions, to illustrate the functions of the plant. I talk about the history, the racism, the ad campaigns. All you need to know about Milwaukee-Solvay Coke you can learn right here.
South Bend, Indiana is a kind of graveyard that one only finds in the Rust Belt, where the headstones are blast furnaces and the only people who visit look for something left behind. Here lies Studebaker, a dead American car company.
What can be done if you want to cover thousands of acres peppered with abandonments? Swap that 20mpg for a proper 10-speed, chuck it over the barbed wire, then take off with a camera on your back. There’s nothing like biking through the abandoned military-industrial complex, so do you think you can keep up?
Duluth’s steel mill was all about moving production closer to raw product; instead of shipping ore via Dock 5 or Allouez the steel could be forged locally. While I explore the plant’s ruinous footprint, I talk about the history of the Duluth US Steel Mill from construction to demolition.
When their husbands clocked-in at Studebaker across the street, the women of Wilson Brothers lined up behind sewing machines to earn a paycheck themselves.