Mitchell Avenue, the main drag of a ghost town. Traces of asphalt and curbs are barely visible through patches of grass. In the old plan of the town, Mitchell Hotel would be to my direct left in this scene, and about 10 houses would flank this street to the left and right.
I liked the color of her hair against the rusty rock house and blue winter sky.
A calendar and comic strip decorate the current pattern shelf in the building which was a coffin factory.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
I had to search the shelves a while to find this old logbook. The open page lists changes in stock numbers for Cutler Hammer Coils, and one row says that a new coil was installed on the black larry. The larry is the machine that loads coke ovens.
Miscellaneous math and strange instructions remain all across the shipment section walls. Sadly, this section likely fell into disrepair before the others.
In this ghost town where there were brick, wooden, and dirt-brick buildings, the latter fared the best by far.
Don’t let Mitchell Engine House run out of steam…
Wind took the spring melt on the trees growing in taconite pellets and made it airborne. Loading chutes in the background.
Below Dock 2 is a set of fire pumps.
Chains connected hooked baskets and lockers to hoist up clothes and helmets when they were above ground. Whether wet with sweat or dry street clothes, the system worked to unclutter lockers and maintain air circulation around subterranean uniforms.
The doorframes become more askew every year as the buildings slip downward into the gulch at different rates. This seems to be the part of the mine ruins where transients leave their marks. The graffiti dated back to the 1970s, at least.
This sign was important when trains ran the length of the elevator.
A teeter totter sits in front of the Memorial Building.
The conveyor between the shore and Dock 2. Note the gap in the aerial walkway that used to connect Dock 4 to the rest of the complex.
What appears to be a building once associated with King Elevator is now a defunct scuba company. To the right of the frame you can see how the concrete on the elevator is beginning to show its rebar.
The snowflake (?) patterns were hand-laid throughout the hospital. It is possible some or all of these tiles were laid by patients, as it is on record that they were used for simple tasks in the name of occupational therapy.
Moss growing where the sunlight sneaks through the boarded windows.
…out of our depth.
Note the severed skyway–that led to a set of grain elevators that have since been demolished.
A whiteboard in the quiet turbine room lays it all out… you should sell.
Did you leave in a hurry?
The locker room was out of a zombie movie.
A custom ladder to cross conveyor belts on the work floor.
A classic Eveready, borrowed from Herb’s office.
A scribbled note on a doorframe… lost details.
The power gauge showed… broken.
An ad hoc scrawl remembers some long-done project.
A switch for the yard engines, now on the edge of the property where nobody will find it.
If there were no other options, operators could climb this ladder from the Communications Room to the surface, after opening two heavy steel hatches, of course.
Two of the remaining four towers in the projects. Throughout our time there we saw and heard squatters inside and chose not to go in. What do you call a smart choice made in the midst of a dumb choice? There should be a word for that.
Hunter climbing up to the coal tower.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
Maximum capacity exceeded.
An unshielded heaframe and single pulley.
I slid into the mill through the top floor, near where the rock-grinding ball mills were left to rust. I look around, taking in the most intact gold mill I’ve ever explored. Movement attracted my eye to the ceiling, where I found something staring back, a raven was observing me with some interest. It had been a while since I have brushed up on the folklore and mythology, but I took it as a good sign. Leica/Summilux 35/Ektar 100
The roof of the King Elevator had two small vents and a terrific view of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Arista 100 in 120.
This peak is a little over 7,000 feet high and is a popular hiking spot. As a bulky Minnesotan who is better built for an arctic expedition, I stuck to the mesa.
Archeologists believe the great house on the mesa was rebuilt shortly before it was abandoned in the 13th Century AD. Tri-X 400 Film, haphazardly self developed.
A heavy steel rail door to help funnel explosions upward, rather than outward.
Depending on the position of the valve, flour could be routed from the filtering process back into a mill.
Taconite Harbor’s main road, now overgrown and leading to nothing. Just asphalt between caved-in curbs.
One level below where the cotton was nitrated, the fumes must have been powerful. This floor had several massive ventilation fans in its walls.
A little sun and a little moisture sprouted this grass in the middle of the steel silos, in the midst of Minneapolis’ “graffiti graveyard”. Two images of time: nature growing through industry and rust dissolving old art in the elements.
Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.
In the mine offices, hooks and a board with numbers was the system to keep track of who was in the mine and who was safe.
Looking through a launcher doorway at an outbuilding… the fire truck garage, if I recall correctly. Fomapan medium format in Pentax 67.
Sprouts of life in center of a smashed glass block.
Where equipment was scrapped.
When boiling beet juice accidentally spills from the gas-fired tanks two feet away, you better be wearing some of these, or bye-bye legs.
Shelves in in the coloring department, where hundreds of different mixer lids are splashed with hardened glass dyes. Color thanks to a yellow-tinted skylight.
Standing between pockets 1 and 2. You brought hearing protection, right?
When you watch TV from the jars, it seems so much more real, they tell me.
A broken signal light that would indicate to incoming engineers and brakemen the status of the dock deck. The streetlight-style lighting is a retrofit; originally the top of the dock would be lit by strings of lights suspended by towers on each side of the deck… a poor system according to the workers at Allouez who had the same lights.
From the loftily perspective of the crane cab, I thought about how nice it would have been to have been here when there was equipment to share the space. This begs the question, who took out the equipment?
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
A wounded flour mill, muscled into the corner to keep out of the way.
A rail maintenance building. I liked the color of the tree against the peeling red paint.
Cracked gauges have a certain quality that hearkens to movies, I think. One can imagine the gauges going off the scales before dramatically cracking, throwing glass right at the camera. This damage, however, is unfortunate vandalism.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
Colleen on the roof.
A bank of vertical filing cabinets, probably dating to National Guard days.
Looking across the mountain tramway from an abandoned house in Gilman.
Labeling line elevator.
Wintertime is quiet, except for the planes overhead.
A closeup of the pulleys atop Manitoba Pool #3 which once pulled conveyor belts full of grain across the cupola building as it was sorted into the silos below.
A porcelain basin in the locker room is detached, but shows excellent patina. I hope when the machine shop is repurposed that this can be saved.
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
Chairs facing the stage in the old cafeteria. Fuji FP100c in Fuji GX680.
Looking through the open windows of the Bunk House toward what I think is the outhouse for the miners. There’s a big bench in the middle of the bunk house that was used as dinner table.
When you’re incoming’s piling up with paint chips, what’s one to do? Call in a sick?
Coded writing on a pillar in one of the assembly buildings.
Robotic pincers to move molten rods of glass between machines.
The most patriotic wallpaper I’ve seen.
Looking at the rear of the mill, through dead vines and barbed wire.
“Cutting torch.” The remains of a catwalk now leads to void on the sintering floor, four stories over the next solid footing. Only two staircases led to the top floor, some half dozen others were cut off for scrap.
A different kind of block party.
The tunnels were full of bricked-up doorways. I wonder how many rooms under there are totally sealed from the outside world…
A cracked sign at dock-level, where loading boats would be tied below the taconite conveyors. All across the surface of the concrete dock were taconite pellets, like slippery little marbles. One wrong step could put a worker in the water, which is a bad, bad place to be.
The top floor of the Dominion Elevator. Acros 100 on 120.
In case power was lost, this manual signal could direct trains on and off the taconite trestle. Turning the pole would change the color of the light on top and the shape of the metal flags.
Some of the plants growing out of the walls of the power plant.
A super-shallow depth of field shot on the Leica Summilux.
The portal facing Taconite Harbor (at a healthy distance) is mostly closed. Some kids put bullet holes in it. Shooting down a long tunnel is extremely dangerous, and you should not do it, obviously. Mamiya 6/Portra 160
Rust undermines the decade old graffiti on the steel bin.
Rogers Mine is one of the most structurally sound mines in the Iron River area that isn’t part of a museum.
An original stencil-brushed sign.
A stack of tires, some of which are destined for the roof. For some reason, a hundred old tires adorn the roof of the Twohy.
Peeling paint reveals the room numbers of the past. Kodak Trix-400 on Canon T40.
This machine was last overhauled in February 1955, and last turned out Crepe silk, probably dress material.
If you know what BTI stands for, please leave a comment.
One of thousands in the complex. Part of a series of photographs where I capture the number “13” in industrial settings.
Ava on an upper catwalk.
Hard to find your seat when it doesn’t know its own name.
A colorful boiler is a happy boiler! RotoGrate systems remove ashes from the boiler firebox by revolving the bottom of the system to let the fly ash drop into a hopper. This greatly increases boiler efficiency.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
Giant paint mixers.
The basement held a makeshift chapel.
An old sign in front of the elevators that used to constitute Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4. Kodak Pro 100.
In the women’s restroom.
Between elevators, a single tree has taken root. I think it’s growing out of a rail grade, so the seed might have fallen off of a train.
“Man has set for himself the goal of conquering the world but in the processes loses his soul.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer and historian.
A familiar scene in Control Tower B, though the microphone has not been used for years.
The old offices for the Oberon Elevator are defunct, but seem to be holding up to the brutal prairie snows and winds. Medium Format.
The stage had two pianos. Did they ever duel?
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
A wimpy crane by most standards, only suitable for moving around parts of steam turbines.
Just across the North Dakota border, a rusty Milwaukee Road boxcar sits where it was shoved off the mainline. The grain elevator in the background marks the tracks, which is still used by BNSF.
The cladding on the 1926 elevator is beginning to submit to the high velocity prairie winds.
It’s not hard to see how Germany could turn these into a prison overnight.