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Santiago Tunnel Tailings

Kate stands on top of the tailings pile that added some usable land to the side of the gulch. Somewhere nearby is the buried Santiago Tunnel.

Armor Stacks

From a distance (here, Union Yards), you can still see ARMOUR spelled out on the smokestack in white brick.

Rogers Shops Panorama

This is what the mine shops look like from the road between Gaastra, MI and Rogers Location (formerly Bates, MI). The community was renamed for the mine, probably under the heavy influence of M.A. Hanna.

Stelco Skies

Peering at Stelco’s abandoned steel rod rolling mill, not demolished. The rectangular on the right in between is the boiler house that heated Stelco.

Dock Shack I

Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.

Tillston, MB- Pool Elevator

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.

Holmfield, MB- Harrison Mill

The Harrison flour mill, completed in 1897 and expanded in 1901 and 1902. The tunnel that I am standing on probably transported grain from the elevator to the mill. Medium Format.

Ghost Road I

Street lights and pavement are some of the obvious signs a town used to be here.

Kate

Kate in the crow’s next… very shaky by the time she got to it.

The Freedom – Brahm

A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.

Placer Pacer

The tailings boom is the first and last thing you see when approaching the mountaintop shipwreck.

Blacksmith Shop Walkway-(C)SUSBTREET.org

The Blacksmith Shop (right) was connected to the Bunk House (left) via this narrow walkway. This is likely due to the fire risk in each building. The left building had a cooking stove and furnace for heat and the right building had a small industrial furnace to repair mining equipment. A little walkway would mean that a fire on one side would be easier to fight from the other.

Overgrown Hallways

On the left are rows of dayrooms; on the right is one of two long hallways which connect the two halves of the hospital. The large, center section of the hallway would fit chairs for patients to look out on the gardens. They called it a conservatory. This hallway would be as close as some patients would get to nature.

Facing Downtown (2005)

2005. This is very likely the oldest image I have on the website; I took this in the early 2000s with my first camera when I was new to the hobby. I still like it quite a lot.

Superior’s Sub-Suburban Sprawl

The same view in 2007.

Superior, WI, some have said, is a suburb of Duluth, MN. It’s more like a sub-suburb, I would argue. It’s the industrial district that is technically in another state, one that sells beer on Sundays. Perspective is looking out of the mostly-disassembled larger (newer) elevator.

Elevator Row

Looking out across the elevator row from Portland Huron’s roof. Don’t you love the color of the sky?

Creature – Brahm

The pitch of the roof is more typical for areas with lots of snow—not the border of Ohio and Kentucky. So, I assume this roofline accommodated some equipment inside for trains—note the tracks.

Battery Stack

The taller of the two smokestacks on site. Note the crack around its crown.

Bench Swing

This tree caught my eye. Note the bench swing near it. Portra 160.

Original Glucose Line

A facade that tells the story of demolition and neglect. The sign on the garage door indicates that if one finds themselves there, that they enter the buildings at their own risk. If only property owners in the US took this philosophy!

Laundry

The laundry building, where many of the tunnels came to an end. It looks very East Coast industrial to me.

Trees in the Stacks

Another perfect Indianan sunset alights like a bird on the tops of the vent houses and tree-packed smokestacks.

Glory Hole Mill Creek

A shallow creek traces Illinois Gulch toward the Chain O’ Mines mill. Ball mills are laid out in the sun.

Old Sign

This sign was important when trains ran the length of the elevator.

Today’s Weather- Stormy

Before the clouds broke, I snapped this profile of the dumping control room and its spiral staircase. These are the colors that I dream in.

Pitfall

Taken several years before the tornado story when the weather, and the condition of the buildings, were nice.

We Built This City on Flour

Looking out upon Mill City through the lens of FLOUR, highlighted in pink and low clouds. This sign has recently been converted into LED lighting.

Charge Car

I believe this is the push car, meaning it would push the charge in the oven out the opposite side into the train car.

Skyway

The exterior of the factory is unassuming

Chicago Skyline

Looking at The Windy City from the top of the coal tower. The pond you see is the former ACME Coke coal yard.

Egomaniac – Brahm

The sun sets in front of a huge concrete building—about four times the size of the power plant. Probably a corn storage bin from an ethanol operation that ran here in the 1980s.

Water Towers

SFAAP’s iconic smokestacks. You’d notice if you drove past this on the highway.

Tailings Boom II

…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.

Gulchward

Looking through the loading platform of Frontenac Mine toward Black Hawk. In 1900, you would see Druid Mine on the left and Aduddell on the right.

Standing Strong

“Crunch, crunch, crunch,” said the ground. “I know,” I replied.

Cheratte Obelysk

Looking at the headframe for Shaft 3 from the tower for Shaft 1. Below is the roof of the Dry House. It was hard to remind myself that these building have been abandoned longer than I’ve been alive.

Collapsing Poor Farm

A wide view of the poor house. Look at the smokestack and elevator shaft, which show the former roofline.

Barn

The hospital featured a farm that once helped to sustain it. This is one of the few remaining signs of those years, near the Nurse’s Cottage.

Overgrown Pillars

One thing I like to do at Gopher is imagine the shape of the planned buildings based on the partial structures.

Under Dock Two

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.

Old Orphanage

It would be a shame if this building is not preserved. Word is (as of 2015) that construction may start on this section soon.

Be C- Watch You- Step

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.

Workhouse II

Looking at the tallest part of the plant from a skeletal loading dock. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.

Front Porch

A multi-family home with an attic bedroom. The staircase was unstable, to say the least.

Two Economies

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.

Tailings Boom I

Like a railgun pointed at the Rockies… the boom would direct tailings–junk rock–outside of the dredge pond.

Perimeter Fence

The perimeter fence still holds strong, 50 years after it was put up.

Paint in the Water – (C)SUBSTREET

Looking from abandoned to active. The end of Dock 6 often has a crane and some shacks on it, as the chutes aren’t used anymore. Instead, conveyors are installed on the land-side of the dock that fill docked vessels, making the end of the dock little more than a breakwater and a place to park repair and recovery equipment.

Cradle and Tree

Gopher Ordnance Works, aka the U-Lands, is a landscape where roots and boughs break apart concrete and steel.

Dock 5L

One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.

Rotten Dock

The top of the docks are so rotten in places that you can see the lake through the boards. In the foreground you can see the controls for the chutes, which work on a clutch.

Broken Cross

On my second or third trip, the cross had broken in the wind.

South Bend Sunrise

I was squatting overnight in one of the buildings and woke up with the sunrise. This is what I woke up to.

Biker

A taste of Superior culture.

Broken Dust Pipe

It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.

Kate

Two versions of Detroit. One where buildings stand tall and proud, and one where they wilt under the sun. It’s an amazing juxtaposition.

Biking Past Bunkers

Because of the dangers of storing the materials to make explosives as well as the explosives themselves, there were earthen bunkers all across the plant like this.

Vivacious Veteran

No, it’s not your Mac’s desktop, it’s a beautiful Lake Superior night. Taken from near the former Pittsburgh and Reading Anthracite Plant. You can see the frame that used to hold the lifeboat that was auctioned in 2006 to the left of the Pilot House.

Control Room Window

Minnesota Power’s Taconite Harbor power station, as seen through the ship loading control room windows.

Driveway

This old Jetta did more offroading than your average lifted tinted loud-exhaust pickup.

Missile Loading Door

This heavy door opens directly into the missile vault and was used to load and unload the missile erector.

Silos Like a Sunset

“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.”

Cutoff Ranch

An abandoned ranch on the east side of the tracks. This was not the Colmor Cutoff they were waiting for.

Moonrise

Even with a hundred people parked in front of the lakeside relic, it was invisible.

Quenching Tower

Showering red-hot coke fresh from the furnaces near the Coal Tower (in the back) was the Quenching Tower’s duty (front).

Double Con

Standing on a caustic tank with my head out a roof hatch, I look at the sign of the last brand to be produced here.

Keeper’s Houses

These houses were built for the use of the lighthouse keepers in 1913 (left) and 1916 (right). The second house was added when the entry added a fourth light and required a second rotation. Today, there are no unbroken windows in either building.

Singing Roundhouse

2013. A perfect summer day meets a beautiful old roundhouse on the edge of town.

Building 429

A rail maintenance building. I liked the color of the tree against the peeling red paint.

Packing House

The concrete walls, heavy steel blast doors, and plastic roof tell me that this was one of the shell loading buildings.

Eureka Tram Cable-(C)SUSBTREET.org

A tram that once linked the Sunnyside Mine to the mill in Eureka has been reduced to a single cable. Nearby, an open adit drips water into a tributary of the Animas River.

Elevator Shaft

The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.

Ball Mill Mounts

Short-stack remains of mounts for rod and ball mills, if I was to bet. The concentrator separated junk rock (tails) from the copper and silver ore, to such a point it could be smelted.

Old Coke Power House

One of the older buildings on the site, this is an old power house that provided electricity to the plant. I spent some time walking around it and believe it was fired with coal gas but had a diesel backup installed later.

Dented and Dilated – (C)SUBSTREET

The end of Dock 5 is warped and bent from a rail accident that left some ore cars swinging like a stringy wrecking ball into the end of the superstructure and accompanying stair. The stairs are still navigable, but it wasn’t recommended by the CN workers that were with me.

First North and Banks

The Osborn Block (front) and the Twohy (rear) at sunset. In the distance, you can almost make out Globe Elevators. One of my favorite photos of 2013.

Rosemount Stonehenge

Some of the ruins are way off the beaten path… foundations of tank stands and pillars of buildings that never had walls or roofs.

Moonrise at Taconite Harbor

The approach to the dock is rigidly geometric. I always thought its outline was beautiful against the lake that, by contrast, was always moving.

Best Flour Panorama

The back of the neon sign before it was converted to LED lighting. The image is mirrored so it can be read.

Treasure Mountain Concentrator

The purpose of the concentrator was to separate the gold and silver-rich ore from the waste rock. You can tell from the design that the process relies heavily on gravity.

Chopper Over Atlas

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been getting reports that several Yellow Helicopters have been seen hovering above town. We are all aware of the Black Helicopters, which are World Government, and Blue Helicopters, which are Secret Police, and the Helicopters with Detailed Murals of Diving Birds of Prey, which are the helicopters that took all the children in Night Vale away a few months ago (we still don’t know what those helicopters are but they did bring all the children back unharmed, and much more well-behaved than before, so they are deemed just as safe as the other helicopters) but these new Yellow Helicopters, no one quite knows.” – Welcome to Night Vale, Ep. 32

Cabezon Peak from Guadalupe Mesa

The valley is full of rocky peaks that stand out from the winding creeks, which only truly run after storms. It is a very beautiful place.

Interior Cloud

A cloud moves across the attic in front of the window. How? A photographer’s secret.

Truck Scale

Daisy Mill could accept shipments from water, rail, and truck at one time. Now everything comes and goes by rail.

Workhouse I

On the dark side of the workhouse at sunset, you can almost see where the walls used to be. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.

Milwaukee Road Boxcar

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.

Barracks and Trees

One of my favorite night views of Fort Snelling’s so-called Upper Post, taken between snowstorms.

Parking Lot

The parking lot is in better condition than most of the complex. The left building is the lab.

Blast Path

The lower door is where the rocket exhaust would flow into the blast pit during initial launch. The upper doors would vent the rocket so the erector and other equipment in the building would not be (as) damaged.

Bldg 100

Some sort of materials handling building, judging by the construction.

Everybody is a Star

The topmost roof of the hospital is covered in antennae and includes a star that faced the rest of the complex, now demolished.

Set the Pie on the Sill

In this ghost town where there were brick, wooden, and dirt-brick buildings, the latter fared the best by far.

National Mineshaft

On the National Mine property are two shafts, both serving the same workings. This one seems to have gotten some upgrades in the 1960s, judging from the condition of the metal.

Shadows of Taconite Harbor on the James R. Barker

As the Barker steamed past the dock and island, the sunset casts the shadow of the Taconite Harbor receiving trestle on the boat. Through the fog, you can see some of the islands that were joined into a breakwater.

Fergus Falls State Hospital Roofline

Looking across the spired rooftop of the Kirkbride building. In the foreground is a fire chute that contains a metal spiral slide designed to evacuate patients in case of a fire. Note the ironwork on the chimney.

Sequence

The side of a launcher, with outbuildings in the background. You can see the tracks where the roof would open before launch.

Launcher

The fiery side of a launch building, just is it began to rain.

Looking Out A Window at the Starch Works

The layout and design of the buildings reminded me strongly of a brewery or distillery. To the right you can see some of the retrofits by the first lumber company to buy the buildings, in the 1970s.

Launch Buildings

A storm passes over BOMARC’s center row of launch buildings. You can clearly see the tracks on which the roof would retract for launch.

Sunset on Osborn

It is unclear when the ‘Superior Warehouse Company’ sign was put up, but it was likely around 1916-1917, when maps indicate it served as a dry goods warehouse, operated by Twohy-Eimon Mercantile Company. The Sivertson sign was likely added in the mid-1980s. In this image I tried to preserve the colors the bricks turn at sunset.

Algosteel Crew

The Algosteel crew strikes a pose while heading through Superior Entry toward Allouez

One More for the Clipper

The Clipper was one of the most popular Packards, but its production was cut short by WWII. Had they produced the car instead of Rolls Royce plane engines I imagine there would might be driving a Packard today, rather than a Ford.

Thrall

A windmill marks one corner of GOW.

Abandoned Switch

A switch for the yard engines, now on the edge of the property where nobody will find it.

Rich Dirt

The command building and a coolant tank. In the distance, rain and hail pound Wyoming dirt.

Art Project

Some guerilla art for passing drivers on I-94 East to enjoy. Artist unknown.

Brown Hotel, Springer, NM

The Brown Hotel still stands, but has recently gone out of business again. One of the nice things about historic buildings in New Mexico, though, is things tend to stay around a lot longer than if they were subjected to lots of rain and snow. It will probably be reopened eventually.

Workshop

Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.

Hearn Stack

Approaching the power station and its giant stack. The stack replaced four shorter stacks in the 1960s, helping with pollution in the downtown corridor.

Drain Key

Looking out of the Brewery Creek Drain outfall at night, after a storm had pushed piles of rocks up onto the shore.

Slag Nuggets

Giant chunks of cooled slag form an island near Mud Lake.

Gilman on the Cliff

The southernmost houses in Gilman are seen through the pines on the right, near the tram stop.

Cargill in Spring (Film)

Taken from atop a grain train at the end of Cargill B-2, looking toward Lake Superior “I”, now part of the sample complex. This area used to have another slip, but Cargill filled it on when it built the elevator on the right.

Dock 4 Panorama

The top of Dock 4 was too dangerous to explore, but this panorama gives you an idea of the view (and how rotten the wood was).

Alley Cloud

A single cloud makes its way to Buffington Harbor and Lake Michigan from the quiet backroads of the plant.

Kurth Malting- Mill City Fork

Sunrise over Mill Hell, and all of Kurth’s various skyways. The elevators in the foreground date to the mid-1920s, Electric Steel is behind and is a little earlier than that.

Backdoor

Looking out at the abandoned neighborhood around the house.

Puffer by Bibio

The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.

School Ruins

A damaged roof channeled rain onto the adobe walls, cutting them in half. In the distance, a preserved house and the ruins of the Colmor School.

James R. Barker I

The Barker turning around before it backed into Tac Harbor to unload coal for Minnesota Power.

Kentucky Castle

Zachary Taylor’s very own Scottish castle, spring-side in the Kentucky backcountry. Boarded and waiting, but in surprisingly good condition, considering the decades. I especially love the tower on the right side of the frame.

New Mexico Ghost Town

The main street of the ghost town is also the maintenance road for the BNSF line that bisects Colmor.

Pillsbury A’s Stone Fascade

From Main Street, looking straight up at the A Mill, only the silence makes one think that nobody’s still inside, grinding grain into Pillsbury’s Best.

Conveyor Blower

Grain is taken from the bottom of the silos through a conveyor in a tunnel. These blowers keep the air in the tunnel fresh.

Film: Frontenac Feelings

Frontenac’s shaft house is well preserved, compared to all other around it. Leica/Summilux 35/Ektar 100

Killarney, MB

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.

National Mine on Quartz Hill

National Mine and its rockhouse (?) as seen from Mammoth Hill. From this angle, I am fairly certain this was a crushing and sorting house. The bottom looks like it has two aerial tram doors as well.

Cargill and Enger Tower in Fall

Looking at the huge and modern Cargill B2 from the circa-1919 Lake Superior “I”. This is a rather unique perspective of Enger Tower and Skyline.

End of the Mill

Here, the concentrated gold (and silver, and zinc, I would guess) would be loaded into trucks bound for the smelter.

Building 402

Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.

Silverton, Colorado

Taken as I drove out of Silverton, CO. One of my favorite landscapes of 2015. Want a print? Email me!

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