Before Portland-Huron Cement’s Duluth Plant was (mostly) demolished and (partly) turned into a hotel, the top of its silos gave a cinematic view of elevator row.
Although it’s difficult to spot at first, there is a traveling mini crane down the way about the three windows. This was installed to service all of the fabrication machines that would be in this section.
The building in the foreground–the old control booth–was arsoned in 2009.
The bottom of the tailings boom is rotten. In days when the dredge, floated, gangways connected it to shore, it seemed. You can see the size of the pontoons under the boat here.
Looking out of the American diesel crane at the gantry crane that ran the length of the dock.
2004. Machine Shop Loft.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
The working end of the blast furnace, where molten metal would flow like lava out of the furnace… a process called ‘tapping’.
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.
The turbine hall sported a beautiful Whiting gantry crane.
The gold mine is now a gravel pit.
A look down the 1950s foundry building, moments after sunset.
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 elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
I love this original brick archway, near the narrow gauge shop. Gorgeous!
The generator hall of the last power station, as seen from the gantryway.
One of the generators, weeks before it was taken apart to be shipped to another power plant somewhere else.
A sizable crane on the corner of the engine house still swings out.
This crane could reach any part of the power station floor.
A nice view of the aurora borealis (“Northern Lights”) strong enough to outshine the industrial lighting at the power plant. The lights in the foreground direct ships discharging coal for the station.
The warped floors caught my eye in this room too–a symptom of turning off heat and not patching a leaking roof in the midwest.
Here you can see the end of the scrapping phase in 2011.
In the background you can see the crane, which would in the weeks to follow bring all you see here to the ground.
Looking from the brewhouse at the death of its sister building, across Minnehaha.
An auxiliary crane in the corner of the foundry room.
A panorama of the dock buildings, before the left one was demolished.
These wide spools sit atop the abandoned tracks that lead to the train shed, which was later repurposed into a truck shed.
Everything had to be tested before being sent to the front lines. Here’s where smaller ammunition would be test-fired. I was able to dig up several misfired rounds. Now they live in my collection of oddities.
This electric Wellman crane was added to extract coal from ships for the power plant that Erie built beside their dock. Now, with the advent of self-unloading boats, it’s been replaced by a funnel and conveyor belt.
On deck, looking at the door to the engine room.
Furnace #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
Early bird gets the blast furnace. You gotta love that ore yard gantry crane.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
The old crane swung on windier days over the Worthington Steam Pump. This is probably last used to disassemble the antique generators, which are all now gone.
A long exposure in the crane cab at sunset throws a bit of color into the bleak yellow glows between the windows and car shaker.
Looking from the crane-motor catwalk into the Calumet. The arm shown here with the pulleys looped through it would have been lowered and the bucket conveyor in it would throw grain to waiting ships and boats bound for flour mills and foreign lands.
One leg of the headframe meets the hoist house. Two cranes are rusted in place.
Was the last job of this hook to lift the remaining equipment out of the hoist hall? The control boards, giant electric motors and transformers?
It seemed the only way to get a view of the room was to climb above the mounds of rotting donations, now not even fit to burn.
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.
I’m very happy to have caught Marquette before it was completely destroyed. If you’re wondering, it costs about $1,000,000 to demolish and elevator like this, and not that much work for the demo crews.
Counter-weighted ore cars alternately filled and emptied to feed Furnace 7. Honestly, though, the corner-mounted cranes are sexier in my opinion. Note the trees growing from the stacks.
This was taken before the top of the docks really started to rot-out; now this stretch past the crane is distinctly unsafe to cross. Still, you can’t beat the view of Dock #2 winding into the distance, where the approach is chopped-off before the yard used to extend.
A wimpy crane by most standards, only suitable for moving around parts of steam turbines.
The tailings boom is the first and last thing you see when approaching the mountaintop shipwreck.
Looking out across the elevator row from Portland Huron’s roof. Don’t you love the color of the sky?
The crane on Dock 2, as seen from Dock 4 right after sunset. Notice the old light tower is warped.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
Looking out of the top of the grain tower at Duluth.
An interesting crane in the back of the machine shop. It seems very light duty, so I am not certain what it was used for.
A few from atop the steam gauges along the western wall. The turbines were scrapped quickly after the plant closed, it seemed.
A look upriver at the crane of the Port of Detroit, quiet for the night, and the Ambassador Bridge, always humming with Canadian traffic. Downtown Detroit is beautiful, if nobody told you.
Watching the demolition of one stockhouse from another. The two cranes were removing steel storage tanks.
The conveyor belt prevented cranes from accessing the left side of the dock, so cranes were mounted to the gantry crane to maintain the ore chutes on the side.
Note the severed skyway–that led to a set of grain elevators that have since been demolished.
Scanned after being recovered from the bottom of an old wooden box for a few years. Circa 2005. The only photo I have showing the steam locomotive out front.