Happy mine bacteria ‘chews’ away at one of the narrow gauge rail ties still embedded in the sand floor. The orange color is not a mistake of mine; it is the result of different minerals leeching into the water table and draining into the mine. Keep in mind that, about 100 feet above, is the Ford plant itself!
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
A mix of brick and stone construction where the stock house meets the cellars. The caves brought well water to the brewery and drained the refuse away, and the various sewer connections are visible here and tell the story of the company’s expansion above.
A romance novel left by some worker–lunch break reading–now sits under a grease stick.
A place to turn mine carts into different areas of the shops.
The walls are separating on the adobe house…
The pigeons and raccoons have no use for these, so they will sit empty until snow or fire removes them by force.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
A better look at the rails in the floor, installed to help move heavy equipment around the building.
Copper thieves haven’t left anything behind but the shell.
The bottom of the elevator which seemed too modern for the building. The top of the elevator opens into open air, as the second floor has long since collapsed.
The sexiest feature of Kurth is this steel arch over the silos on its south side. The manholes in the floor open to the silos directly, and flimsy grates might catch a hurried worker. Grates were removable so that workers could descend into the concrete tubes, so a few are missing today.
Police tape marks were kids got hurt in the past… probably from falling from the unstable catwalk above.
A familiar scene in Control Tower B, though the microphone has not been used for years.
The Engine House’s boiler, which would have been fired all day all day, virtually from the day the shop opened until the day it closed.
An old handcart sits next to a rotting elevator.
Aluminum spools replaced their wooden counterparts, later in the factory’s history.
One of the only remaining pieces of equipment in the distilling room is this green control panel on a bridge suspended in the middle of it all.
The only thing that signals that this was an office building, rather than another production floor, is the small amount of wood paneling that remains.
This building was responsible for storing and drying the barrels. Compare right.
The stage had two pianos. Did they ever duel?
After Wilson Bros moved out, a furniture company moved in.
Generations of Two Harbors teens smoked their first weed in this abandoned building, in my estimation. Comment if I’m right!
Note the pit is filled in here.
This side of the mill, which abuts the Great Miami River, is much older than the other side of B Street. You can tell it went through many revisions.
A little welding art one crosses over near the windlass room.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
Next to the generator room is the pump room, which moved steam around the complex.
…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.
After climbing the elevator shaft to the illusive second level, a new pallet of colors were revealed.
The great stenciled number on this chute caught my eye.
Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.
I assume this sign used to sit near the highway that snakes around the mine and town.
In one of the hundreds of bunkers across the busy highway from the empty plant ruins. Most did not have doors, but I got lucky on this one.
Cobbled walkways followed the assembly lines.
Twin tracks exit a concrete wall below St. Anthony (Cathedral) Hill.
My favorite picture from the mills. These charts remind me of star charts or orbiting planets.
A me-sized hole in the half-demolished skyway looks about a story down to the ground. Step lightly. Arista 100.
Depending on the position of the valve, flour could be routed from the filtering process back into a mill.
The top of the annex was bare except for these holes into the silos below.
At noon, the lower skylights around the shops glow yellow-green, thanks to the flora blooming on the roof above.
This picture typifies the industrial ideal of the early 20th century. More metal than air. More efficiency than beauty. More profits than people.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
In the barracks.
The remains of the surgical suite.
A long tunnel stretches toward the Mississippi. Was this the route Model Ts took on their way to waiting barges?
Who knew that wallpaper could stick to dirt so well?
The bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
I really like the way this high-ceilinged room is decaying. Well, decayed. It’s demolished now.
A view from the loft in the shipping/receiving building, where the crane operator would step into his cab.
The crumbling building barely contained the colors inside of it.
Tucked-into the side of the concentration mill… these machines were meant to crush underground rock into a fine dust for mineral extraction.
The altar is gone, but the tile work around it isn’t.
These concrete blocks were formed to be solid mounts for machinery. All the metal was scrapped in the late 1990s, leaving these modern ruins. Seagulls love them.
There were bins with hundreds of spools in them in the basement.
Looking from the ‘crack’ that shows a collapsed tunnel into the dry house, in the direction miners returning home would walk. Note smoke lines above door.
The last tailings on a broken conveyor belt.
The woman in the wall has the bed; is pulling it in; is holding you down…
Old hospital beds.
…when injection molding was the new thing that everyone was experimenting with.
Each patient had a card of record that reported major events. Births, changes in diagnosis, and for some, death.
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.
This rod mill (?) was made in Denver Colorado at a factory now buried by condos. #justdenverthings
Sleeping bags mark this former courtyard as a crash pad for the local homeless.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.
The view into one of the asylum rooms of Norwich Hospital. A long time ago, a window broke, letting the vines crawling up the bricks outside to move indoors and across the floor.
Sharks in the floor.
Can you imagine workers in a food plant smoking on the job today?
Rubber dock boots still sits under the desk in the dock office, near keys to rusted locks and files of fired employees.
In the Lime House, the sunset picked-up the last light of day to make this image. Lime is used in the beet sugar refinement process to reduce the acidity of the beet juice mixture.
At the top of a skyway that brought fresh-dried cotton into the Nitrating House from the Cotton Dry House. How? Monorail, of course.
One of the cupola air intakes, rattled loose by the demolition downstairs, hangs stranded on the second floor. You can see that the floor I’m standing on in this picture used to extend all the way to the right wall. The blue paint on the wall made the climb absolutely worth it.
Without a conveyor belt, this tripper seems lost. The job of this machine was simply to take grains from the moving conveyor belt and eject it into the silos via the chutes on the sides. Note all the dust collection venting added to the machine to suck up any explosive grain dust.
I get dirty.
The right-pointing crank adjusts the rollers inside of the mill. How fine do you want your flour?
The secret sweet-yet-salty center of the nameless factoryscape. Home base, tuned to rule the AC and turn out Product X at record rates, I’m sure.
The main floor of the hospital was crammed with furniture.
Some parts of the doctor’s apartment in the Administration Tower were decidedly upscale. Look at the beautiful ironwork on that sink!
That floor isn’t dirt–it’s old rotting grain that’s formed into a sort of moldy mud.
The basement of the laboratories is the home of the ore grinder. I’m sure it was noisy.
The flour mill’s interior is really just a system of steel and rubber tubes that crush flour over and over in the gap. This mill was never run off of water power directly, but it used to generate power using the river.
Two steel hoppers supported by counterweights and springs, which were used to weigh incoming grain loads before being deposited in the silos beneath this floor. Garner is another way to say “big measuring tank”, if you were wondering. I fell in love with all the tubes and chutes on this floor.
One chute drops grain on a conveyor for storage in the north silo cluster, while another is ready to deposit the flow where the conveyor cannot reach. Instead of engineering the belt to trip in reverse, the silos under the workhouses have their own chutes.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
A Merrill Piano from Boston, in the Recreation Room of the Front Dorm.
The engine room.
A little sheet metal box somehow made it back home.
The chair tried to leave, but found it had grown heavy with the weight of water and wood. Today, it shelters the mice and maggots.
Either the company was pulling parts from this evaporator to use as parts for other plants, or the last thing the workers did was to get this machine ready for the next campaign. Either way, plans changed.
Partier graffiti dates to when the caves were last open to the public; probably in the 1990s. This tunnel used to horseshoe between the brewery’s ice chute (left) and basement door (right, backfilled). Note the utility tunnel in the upper-right corner as well as the lighting brackets on the ceiling.
One of my favorite pictures of the tunnel. I am holding a bike rim and wearing a headlamp. My friend triggered the flash just behind my lower back. The fog is a temperature inversion at the entrance of the tunnel; it was 102 degrees outside of the tunnel and about 50 degrees inside, and humid.
The beet juice was boiled down to make a syrup, which would be drained down the trough to the crystalizers.
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.
The pit on the left was one of two that accommodated the bottom half of the Motor Generators, which converted AC to DC.
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.
A small machine shop level.
Note the rails in the floor that guided cars to the coating line, the side of which is lined with the windows in the center of the image.
The only light in the ‘coffin’ of the Atlas E is that which leaks through the exhaust vents.
One of the pair of motors that powered this mine shaft. In the 1950s, this shaft was designated a rescue shaft, and was only maintained for emergencies. One reason that Cheratte built Shaft 3 nearby was because these motors and infrastructure did not have the capacity that the giant mine below called for.
Two small generators connected to a Frick steam engine.
The backdrop has become the pallet for water damage and graffiti.
No Bibles were left in the pews, only golf pencils.
The world’s biggest paper machine was installed here about a century before this photo was taken. The orange in the windows is the brick building across the street–the new part of the plant.
This chair burned in the 2005 arson that gutted this building, which is the oldest on the property.
On the outside of the steel silos and headhouse is a riveted bulge that does not look like the silos. Inside is this elevator, a rudimentary (read: dangerous) and old (read: dangerous) freight elevator.
A series of interconnected offices that look like they hadn’t been painted in 40 years.
The huge snowfalls of 2011 brought new collapses across the buildings.
The only way to get to the second floor–since demolition crews punched-out the staircases and ladders leading upwards–was to climb this elevator shaft. In the lower-left corner is a blower for the foundry furnaces.
The orange bars were secured to the tunnel walls to support electric lines for the mine carts. Lower parts of the sand mines were allowed to flood. The water was perfectly still, and made for a mud so thick it could suck off your boots.
An auxiliary crane in the corner of the foundry room.
A clicky-flippy clock is having some kind of malfunction.
This seemed to be the newest building on the property.
The cupola–the space above the silos–is surprisingly original. The building was too unstable for anyone to scrap it out. Seriously, the floor is a deathtrap.
A machine to cast copper billets.
Shoes and booze, backstage.
In this ghost town where there were brick, wooden, and dirt-brick buildings, the latter fared the best by far.
Cat paw prints on the control panels. Remember to lock-out-tag-out, Power Raccoons, and keep your own keys.
When the ship loaders were added, a doorway was cut through the metal silo to make a room for the grain handling equipment. Note the dust sensor in the corner of the torch-cut archway.
Moisture and temperature changes have hoisted the wooden floors of the first floor classrooms.
The blacksmith shop is pretty rugged looking. Through the door you can see the collapsed walkway that might have once connected to a building covering the Santiago Tunnel adit.
Perhaps this office was for a film studio or music producer.
The main staircase of the old hospital had… problems.