Platforms and abandoned outbuildings, as seen in 2005.
A small machine shop level.
Looking through the old brewhouse toward the Keg Wash House.
From the summer a bunch of Australians visited Minnesota.
To the right is the spiral staircase. This building had a definite “floor problem”.
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.
Go on and jump in, if you want, there’s even a ladder to climb out.
Graffiti by performing artists that hit the stage in the 1990s. I’m no musician, but I do not think it is being played low enough.
Looking through the an access panel at the hoist room for Shaft No. 3. The cable had long ago been scrapped, along with the motors to drive the pulleys. I still admire the workmanship on the spool’s arching metal shell.
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.
The spectacular, if precarious, view of downtown Minneapolis from the roof of ADM Annex 4. Note the great messages left by various graffiti artists who made it to the spot.
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.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
Strange graffiti in a side room. Someone was having fun…
Looking through a secure ward door at the destroyed rooms beyond.
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 grand staircase with little balconies leaning over it. All the stone stairs are broken and graffiti marks every wall.
Whoever did this: good job. You get it.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
A ruined culvert near Oregon Creek, behind Old Main, the predecessor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
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.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
In front of a rust-welded Illinois rotary stoker is where the boiler-men made their mark. The last year I can make out is 1985.
Generations of Two Harbors teens smoked their first weed in this abandoned building, in my estimation. Comment if I’m right!
A retrofitted dust collector stands out from the geometry of the roofline.
The projector booth, above the balcony in the auditorium.
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.
Looking up at the network of elevators at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Its train shed doors stand open under the void where conveyors should be. You can see where they used to connect on the left and right. The outside of the building is covered in racist graffiti.
This building is now being used to grow fish.
In what has turned into a kind of industrial courtyard between four ovens some people have posted their tags. X was here.
A bird near the old schoolyard.
One leg of the headframe meets the hoist house. Two cranes are rusted in place.
Looking from the main shop into the boiler shop, one of three attached buildings that specialized in certain repairs. One thing that architectural photographers have to work with is an elongated “magic hour” with ideal shadowing and coloring–this photo is a result of that lighting.
The bottom area of the smokestacks house storage spaces. The windows of these rooms that were never completed line up perfect.
Many outdoor areas of the plant have become unofficial city dumps. The skeleton doesn’t care.
The roof compromised, rain water rolls down the main stairway.
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.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
Reflections of graffiti during spring melt.
Often the quickest way to move between buildings was to take the roof. The inside of the complex was so maze-like, I don’t know how I would have found my way around.
One of the staircases that connected the lab, the plant, and the offices.
The back of the Lyric, including the offices at the back of the theater.
I wonder if these windows were bricked after the 1950 explosion with the hopes that, if another silos blew, the people in this office would be better protected.
Across the walls of the brick repair shop, near where men and machine entered Shaft No. 3, vines, pipes, and graffiti battle unknowingly for visual prominence.
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
Another. Planet. Coal crushers and the coke loading line.
Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.
This might have been part of the Pioneer Pellet Plant. It looks to be a ball mill, which pulverizes ore by spinning it with thousands of ball bearings.
From the catwalks below the hoisting motor in Shaft No. 1.
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.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
In its later years, metal was welded over every door and window on the ground floor.
A board to track which miners are underground. Low tech, but very effective.
All electrical rooms were surrounded by walls, for obvious reasons. Now all the walls are gone, for reasons less obvious.
On the left, the formula for the sintering mix was written (“mischungszusammenselzung”) to keep track of the jobs.
I really liked the bulky pillars on this outer-ring cottage.
The parking lot is in better condition than most of the complex. The left building is the lab.
The long control room overlooks giant caps where equipment was removed long ago.
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.
In the mid-2000s, Peavey sealed the spaces between their Electric Steel Elevator bins. What they unwittingly created was a graffiti time capsule. “Impeach Bush”.
A view from the loft in the shipping/receiving building, where the crane operator would step into his cab.
One last look in the mirror before you turn around and walk onstage…
Science Alert. When the sun strikes an object, that object absorbs some of the infared light in the form of heat. The heat absorbed by the old Soo dock absorbed and radiated that energy to melt off the snow from the ice around it, making it very reflective.
The east side of the boiler shop sported a platform with a control booth and heavy machine mounts. Note the door that replaces the lower section of stairs for explorers.
Squinting from the top floor through the skyway, one can feel small, like they’re in a heavy industrial dollhouse.
My friends know that redheads are my greatest weakness.
The tops of the coke stoves.
The working end of the blast furnace, where molten metal would flow like lava out of the furnace… a process called ‘tapping’.
Furnace #6; its catwalk and tapway. Note the lever-operated gutter-blockers.
The smokestack for the sintering plant included a big blower room, to launch the fumes into the atmosphere and away from the town. What could go wrong?
In the modern control room at the base of the white elevator tower are the electronics that ran the newer building, its rail components and boat-loading component. The superstructure permeates all spaces here, as can be seen with the crossing I-beams in the main office.
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.
I like to imagine this as fountain.
Above the offices is this little section of factory that still has strips of wood flooring. This may be where the upholstery was cut.
Algae grows where water flows/From the sawtooth roof/To the mines below/The sun climbs high/But is in no one’s eyes/A wall alone crumbles/It was no suprise
Sunrise in the orphanage… between classrooms and whispers.
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
Although the floors are pretty warped, I can’t imagine one could do many tricks off of them.
The classic Solvay shot. Everyone has it.
Old parts catalogs litter the floor. The office overlooks empty shelves. Graffiti glue peeling paint in place.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.
A skyway 100 feet above this office crumbled one day. This is what happened when those two met. High-impact love.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4 looks rough these days. You can tell how high the children of Thunder Bay can throw a rock.
My first night on Minneapolis’ Lighthouse–now an old picture and distant memory… I still remember the exhilaration and the view of the city off one edge of the roof and the Mississippi River over the other.
This is one of the rooms near Shaft 1 that was converted to be a Dry Room, where workers would wash and change between shifts.
Sleeping bags mark this former courtyard as a crash pad for the local homeless.
Death. About two seconds after the explosives were triggered.
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
A look down the 1950s foundry building, moments after sunset.
Looking into the cut made for the streetcar tunnel. It looks like there is a door in the wall, but it’s an optical illusion.
Inside the west portal is a big liquid propane hand warmer, for workers to take the cold off their gloves as they handled the switches and doors of Cramer Tunnel. Mamiya GA645 / Kodak Pro 400
A colorful makeshift wall.
These pools looked into the cribbing below the concrete.
Rims where bulbs were, light were motors were, stairs were people were.
Note the really old carvings in the mineral-stained sandstone on the walls and ceiling. This little cave was walled-off on one end, making me wonder what the area was for. Lighting is a set of three candles and two LED flashlights and a cigarette.
Like looking out of an airship.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
A string of vehicles have found death at Packard recently. Usually they are simply driving up ramps and pushed off the rooftops, but this one seemed destined for a worse fate. Found in the far corner of the far building.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
Looking into the main workhouse from the skyway into the annex elevator. But who care? Look at the colors!
Serve [unknown] Build… What do you think the middle says? Tell me in the comments.
I am not sure, but I think this section was a storehouse; it has two ramps that connect the rail yard outside and the blacksmith shop. On all of the historic doors that face that part of the yard, signs caution workers to look out for cars…
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
On the left is the broken glass room that contains the controls for the cable spool, now gone, that sat in the metal shell on the right. The stairs led down to the hoisting engine itself. You can make out the slits where the cable ran up to the headframe tower through the gaping archway.
Where the trees are sprouting–below the skyways and criss-crossing pipes–are two sets of railroad tracks that turned through this narrow alleyway through the middle of the production line to drop off raw materials and pick up finished product.
Behind the small stage is a hallway signed by practically every act that walked through its doors. There’s also a pair of palms. Since all the heat in the building collects in this area, it did seem more tropical.
The first floor of the Industrial Loft building.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
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 grain-centric buildings had automatic fire doors.
Additional Sacred Heart Building (1949) Collapse, 2012, Courtesy Chris Naffziger @ http://stlouispatina.blogspot.com/2011/12/st-marys-infirmary.html
The company labs. If you can believe it, this area is even more destroyed today.
Looking down into the lunch building of an Atlas D, near the motors for the retractable roof. In this design, the roof separates to allow the missile to be erected into launch position.
The newer train barn for the SK Pool 4 complex has a car tipper that would clamp and turn the grain cars to dump them into hoppers. FP-100c.
I tried to hide the graffiti from my photos, but sometimes it wasn’t possible.
An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
Taken on a short trip where the whole floor of the roundhouse and engine shop was covered in fresh snow–thanks to the holes in the roof and open windows.
Hanging over the crane cab, looking over at the trane-sized doors below. The steel beam tracing the left wall is the support for the gantry crane this photo was taken from.
A different kind of tree fort.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
The top of the annex was bare except for these holes into the silos below.
A polaroid (FP100c, actually) of the newer grain car dumper.
At noon, the lower skylights around the shops glow yellow-green, thanks to the flora blooming on the roof above.
The left cave is the largest of the three, and shows the most evidence of expansion.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
Molten copper pouring being a very dangerous thing to do by hand, this scale measured the load for the “Auto Caster” that actually formed the cooling copper in its molds.
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
Looking out of the “back door”, where equipment could be lifted into the factory with a crane. The bottom of the coal conveyor can be seen outside.
The top of the barracks staircase.
…out of our depth.
Found in one of the rooms that hosted an inpatient chemical dependency unit in its later years. Connect the dots yourself.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
I’ll remember the neon glow fondly.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
This is how the warehouse looks today.
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.
Brewery Creek Waterfall, somewhere above Duluth. Lit with candles and a small LED panel. To me, it looked like a pipe pouring molten metal.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
The main floor of the hospital was crammed with furniture.
What I make out to be the dining room or great hall of the castle, as seen through of the side rooms, which appeared to be a very ruined library. Teenager graffiti looks cooler in French.
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
This ward was the last occupied place in the hospital. It was used as a chemical dependency (drug and alcohol) inpatient program. It seems that they were allowed to paint the walls before they abandoned it… I go back and forth, thinking it is a shame and thinking it is a little cool.
I like to imagine this as an old-timey radio microphone.
Furnace #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
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.
Boards on the window are like rings on a tree, if you know how to read abandonments.
A door covered in pen graffiti.
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.
The cold air collided with the sun-warmed water on the floor, filling the ground floor of the Keg House with thick fog…
The old hospital (left) and ugly modern additions (right).
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.
The Atlas D command building. As Brutalist as it gets.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
This heavy door opens directly into the missile vault and was used to load and unload the missile erector.
One of the few doors.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.
Ruined cars abandoned in the generator hall, long after its namesake was scrapped.
From the boarded-up choir loft above the chapel, minutes after sunrise. Obviously local kids have long had their way with this landmark.
The city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.
Judging from old pictures and maps, raw ore was dumped through these hatches, stamped into a rough powder, and hastily sorted before sending the best ore to the mill. Mills charged by tons of rock sent to them, so it did not pay to send them obvious tails.
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”)
Copper thieves haven’t left anything behind but the shell.
Wide stairs between the ground, the mine shaft, and the dry house.
This section of the production floor was constantly dripping. Someone had laid down giant plastic sheeting to attempt to protect the lower floors, but it hasn’t worked.
Looking through skylights of the payroll office toward the Cheratte No.1’s tower. This is where workers would wait in line to receive pay, surrounded by the mine workings.
Panorama from where the skyway connected the cleaning house and elevator. ADM Meal Storage is to the right, ADM-4 is to the extreme right, and Kurth is on the left.
Early bird catches the shadow of Battle Mountain blaring across the ghost town.
A typical stretch of the assembly line.
It’s not hard to see how Germany could turn these into a prison overnight.
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.
A depiction of historic Liège, known for its rivers and hills.
It’s a small world… look at it.
Police tape marks were kids got hurt in the past… probably from falling from the unstable catwalk above.
Some guerilla art for passing drivers on I-94 East to enjoy. Artist unknown.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
At this junction where Brewery Creek gets a breath of fresh air stands a kid holding a paintbrush: a Banksy (famous graffiti artist) ripoff.
“See anything?” “No, just more of it.” “How much to go?” “Oh god–we’ve only seen about 10%.” “Guess we should keep moving then…”
The taller of the two smokestacks on site. Note the crack around its crown.
A typical room in the barracks, reinforced from mortars and light shelling, possibly.
A 8-foot-tall volume indicator that could be read from across the beet boiler floor–convenient when the controls are 20 feet away.
Ultimately, it was the bad roof that doomed these buildings.
This is one of my favorite doorways (yes, I have favorites) for a few reasons: 1.) You can see how the once-arched door has been squared-off for rectangular doors to fit; 2.) you can see one complete historic door and one ruined door, and the chain that used to hold them together before someone kicked-out the security, and; 3.) I like the texture of the bricks and design of the radiators in the room beyond–the blacksmith shop. Just do.
A number of skyways carried the production line across roads and railroad tracks in and around the plant. An identical skyway to this one was cut off sometime in the past decade (judging by the rust), probably for its steel.
Delmar #4 is like two elevators in one, in capacity and design.
Watching the sun set behind downtown Detroit is my favorite memory from the building.
The stairs that connect the breakwater and light station (Leica M6/Kodak Ektar).
This concrete sections supported a coal tower that loaded the larry.
You can see almost ever level of the factory from this spot.
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!