Gopher Ordnance Works, aka the U-Lands, is a landscape where roots and boughs break apart concrete and steel.
Taken several years before the tornado story when the weather, and the condition of the buildings, were nice.
These pools looked into the cribbing below the concrete.
The Sunnyside Mill, excepting the stained rebar, seems like part of the mountain.
The first 800 or so feet of the tunnel is finished with reinforced concrete. The test is raw stone. This is the spot where it switches. Side note: nailing this shot on film is one of my proudest light-painted moments.
The top of the annex was bare except for these holes into the silos below.
The Gold Prince is dead, but its ruins show how over-engineered it once was. Although its foundations were concrete, seen here, the rest of the mill was steel. All of its steel and equipment was removed to fix the Sunnyside Mill in Eureka.
The side of Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #7, still active, is hypnotizingly regular. From a distance, its texture resembles parchment. Its color resembles the color of the wheat in late October.
This building is now being used to grow fish.
Holes were cut into the floor to extract equipment from the basements. it was interesting to see the I-beams extending through all the levels of Studebaker.
The stairs that connect the breakwater and light station (Leica M6/Kodak Ektar).
The concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
The ice reflects the blue sky on the rust. The sunset blasts through the concrete pillars holding it all up.
The city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.
Worker graffiti in a stairway. If this is your birthday, you have to comment on this post!
You can tell from the marks on the wall that there used to be pipes running the length of this square hallway, which connected a loading dock with explosive mixers.
One of the clusters of elevators. Doors would open on both sides so that vehicles could be moved through them if necessary. There is only one set of stairs in the whole building.
Some of the workings inside the ruins of the Gold Prince Mill are still obvious, such as this steel ore chute over that used to feed a floatation tank.
A small bunker and blast wall between shell-loading buildings would have provided shelter during disasters, such as tornados, accidental explosions, and perhaps even enemy attacks.
More circa-1935 graffiti.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
There are many skeletal remains of buildings that were burned to destroy the pollutants inside. It’s not an uncommon step in a cleanup.
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.
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.
Bells are highly symbolic, being used from everything from calling worshipers in the morning to exorcising demons at night.
These ruins of buildings recovered acid from the explosives line to be recycled.
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
On the left is the 1907 elevator section and its 1926 expansion is on the right. Interesting how the century-old silos seem to be faring better. Windows provided light to the underground conveyor tunnels, which were used to bring grain out of the silos by gravity.
Between the room with mold sand and the space where the car’s metal bits would be put together, a pillar is marked as structurally vital.
The left tunnel goes to the opposite side of the car elevator seen on the right. There was a time when Fords were shipped by barge on the Mississippi. This freight elevator brought them from the assembly floor to river level. A separate elevator was for moving men and silica up and down.
For reasons unknown, this building’s concrete was designed a little thinly. It reminds me of a Chicago, IL building constructed during WWI when concrete and steel were strictly rationed and many buildings went up with insufficient superstructures. I do not have a build date for this one yet.
The texture of the cracking poured concrete ore pocket is somewhere between stone and driftwood.
The side of a launcher, with outbuildings in the background. You can see the tracks where the roof would open before launch.
Looking at the concrete headframe from street level. Acros 100 in Pentax 67
And I forget just why I taste / Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile / I found it hard, it’s hard to find / Oh well, whatever, never mind (Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”)
Taken just after the sun set over Duluth. Don’t you love that green glow?
These tubes would bring cement to the top of the plant for storage in the silos.
The Atlas D command building. As Brutalist as it gets.
Broken skyways in the sand casting house, where everything was utterly fire-resistant.
Below the factory floor is a network of hallways and tunnels, all flooded with water.
A typical stretch of the assembly line.
Entrance to the plant. Hermes holds his iconic caduceus and a Model T. Demeter holds a tractor in a motif of wheat. A fantastic reimagining of the Greek, with an excerpt of the following quote by Sir Joshua Reynolds (18th century English painter): “Excellence is never granted to man but as the reward of labor. It argues no small strength of mind to persevere in habits of industry without the pleasure of perceiving those advances, which, like the hand of a clock, whilst they make hourly approaches to their point, yet proceed so slowly as to escape observation.”
Taconite Harbor’s main road, now overgrown and leading to nothing. Just asphalt between caved-in curbs.
Circa-1960s graffiti. Someone got their ass kicked.
A century-old ghost sign for Royal House Flour was preserved after a building is built above and through it! Looking from the north annex elevator toward the headhouse.
The Eureka Mill, historically known as Sunnyside Mill, is now the gateway to Animas Forks.
This crane could reach any part of the power station floor.
After climbing the elevator shaft to the illusive second level, a new pallet of colors were revealed.
Kate in the Atlas E, which is essentially a buried Atlas D. Above is the protective steel blast door.
A photo from my first trip, although very little has changed in this area of the building except for the level of graffiti. I love skylights, don’t you?
When I see this picture, I imagine that I am an ant exploring a mushroom farm.
Pillars among trees… those who inherit the earth will be so confused.
The mill was powered, in part, by water flowing through turbines under it. After the flow worked the industrial heart of the flour mill, it was exit to the Mississippi here.
What looks to be a skip for repairing the dock, in the concrete steeple.
In what Studebaker called the ‘Materials Building’ are these giant concrete bins of fine molding sand, there for casting metal parts using the molten metal from the adjoining building. On the far left side there is a train track and once upon a time a gantry crane traced the room under the roof
This is what it might have looked like if a new Ford descended in the elevator with its headlights on. As seen from the Mississippi side–the opposite portal faces the sand mine.
Looking up the tallest structure left at ACME.
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.
It was interesting that, even though storms had carried the wooden walkway that stretched under the dock, these piles of spilled taconite remain where they had dropped.