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.
I like to imagine this as fountain.
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.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
Much of the signage in the mill was hand-drawn.
The new concrete workhouse, as seen through chickenwire.
My friends know that redheads are my greatest weakness.
These pools looked into the cribbing below the concrete.
Looking up the grand stair at the second floor.
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.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
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.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
On the upper floors where the sunlight is yellow–the color of flour dust, once exposed to the elements.
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.
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.
Looking at ADM-Delmar #4, #1 and Kurth from the Meal Storage Elevator at sunset on one of the warmer days of December. Note the graffiti “United Crushers” that gave the big elevator its common name among locals. Also, Harris Machinery is sitting in the lower-left corner, awaiting word of its next use.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
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 old hospital (left) and ugly modern additions (right).
Ultimately, it was the bad roof that doomed these buildings.
A colorful makeshift wall.
The back of the Lyric, including the offices at the back of the theater.
A burned and rusted control panel in the corner of the new hoist room.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
A typical room in the barracks, reinforced from mortars and light shelling, possibly.
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.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
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.
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 concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
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.
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.
Another. Planet. Coal crushers and the coke loading line.
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
The parking lot is in better condition than most of the complex. The left building is the lab.
Where the drain changes shape from round concrete to arched brick.
Copper thieves haven’t left anything behind but the shell.
I’ll remember the neon glow fondly.
The long control room overlooks giant caps where equipment was removed long ago.
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
Inside the MLK High School chemistry laboratory.
Reflections of graffiti during spring melt.
This building is now being used to grow fish.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
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?
A skyway 100 feet above this office crumbled one day. This is what happened when those two met. High-impact love.
The city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.
From the summer a bunch of Australians visited Minnesota.
A tunnel between the outside gate and the courtyard shared by the barracks.
A typical stretch of the assembly line.
Many outdoor areas of the plant have become unofficial city dumps. The skeleton doesn’t care.
A panorama of the Shipping/Receiving building on the northeast end of the block. In the old days this would be facing the ‘Dry Dock Hotel’, a boarding house owned by the company, presumably for the use of the men having their boats repaired here.
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.
I like to imagine this as an old-timey radio microphone.
A bird near the old schoolyard.
The tops of the coke stoves.
From the boarded-up choir loft above the chapel, minutes after sunrise. Obviously local kids have long had their way with this landmark.
Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
A polaroid (FP100c, actually) of the newer grain car dumper.
A view from the loft in the shipping/receiving building, where the crane operator would step into his cab.
Additional Sacred Heart Building (1949) Collapse, 2012, Courtesy Chris Naffziger @ http://stlouispatina.blogspot.com/2011/12/st-marys-infirmary.html
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
The projector booth, above the balcony in the auditorium.
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.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
Looking through the dark door at Shaft 3, when my naked eyes could only make out a staircase lit dimly from above.
It’s not hard to see how Germany could turn these into a prison overnight.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
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.
This was one of two skyways that went between production line offices. It’s easy to tell because it’s not reinforced for machinery to travel through it. I also like that it’s a double-decker, so to speak.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
At this junction where Brewery Creek gets a breath of fresh air stands a kid holding a paintbrush: a Banksy (famous graffiti artist) ripoff.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
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.
Looking into the engine works from the concrete addition.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
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.
Platforms and abandoned outbuildings, as seen in 2005.
It’s a small world… look at it.
This is part of the oldest section of factory, one that hasn’t had a roof in a long time and all usable equipment has been extracted. The machines pictured would spin sliced beets in boiling water… it was a sealed system before someone cut holes on sides of each unit.
A view of the Harris offices, complete with great block glass.
I wonder how polluted that water is.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
Jef throws open the back door of an alley for the trailing photographers and historians.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
From the catwalks below the hoisting motor in Shaft No. 1.
The bricks routinely fell from the walls, like seeds falling from trees. On a smaller scale, new walls grew from the floors.
Downtown and the blight.
The State School stage, taken as it was getting scrapped.
Some guerilla art for passing drivers on I-94 East to enjoy. Artist unknown.
The cold air collided with the sun-warmed water on the floor, filling the ground floor of the Keg House with thick fog…
A door covered in pen graffiti.
I really liked the bulky pillars on this outer-ring cottage.
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
Although the floors are pretty warped, I can’t imagine one could do many tricks off of them.
One last look in the mirror before you turn around and walk onstage…
Police tape marks were kids got hurt in the past… probably from falling from the unstable catwalk above.
To the right is the spiral staircase. This building had a definite “floor problem”.
A different kind of tree fort.
Next to the pit in the maintenance shop is “The Wall”… where rail workers wrote about interesting happenings at Shoreham.
The grand staircase with little balconies leaning over it. All the stone stairs are broken and graffiti marks every wall.
A ruined culvert near Oregon Creek, behind Old Main, the predecessor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Ruster at The Pool… employee graffiti about 100 above ground.
Found in one of the rooms that hosted an inpatient chemical dependency unit in its later years. Connect the dots yourself.
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.
C’mon, guys. PIck up to trash.
A matrix panorama of the brewhouse staircase, post-scrapping. So pretty…
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.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
A wide view of the hallway behind the small performance space, covered in hundreds of names, aphorisms, and acts that walked up the stairs to the right and onto the small stage.
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 small machine shop level.
Between the catwalks of Furnace 6, the molted ore would flow through the chute.
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.
Old parts catalogs litter the floor. The office overlooks empty shelves. Graffiti glue peeling paint in place.
The sound of water running in the distance.
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 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.
In this old repair shop, vines fall from the rotting roof to meet mossy concrete. Even though it had been dry for days, water dripped in from the roof to make permanent puddles between workstations. It was full of color and sound and industry and nature.
A 8-foot-tall volume indicator that could be read from across the beet boiler floor–convenient when the controls are 20 feet away.
Watching the sun set behind downtown Detroit is my favorite memory from the building.
Brewery Creek Waterfall, somewhere above Duluth. Lit with candles and a small LED panel. To me, it looked like a pipe pouring molten metal.
I tried to hide the graffiti from my photos, but sometimes it wasn’t possible.
All electrical rooms were surrounded by walls, for obvious reasons. Now all the walls are gone, for reasons less obvious.
Furnace #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
An iron gate separates vaults below the barracks.
See http://www.thecarriedeer.com/ for details.
The top of the annex was bare except for these holes into the silos below.
Some of the earlier buildings were dressed up with brick facades.
Go on and jump in, if you want, there’s even a ladder to climb out.
Like many mill-style buildings of the time, the Twohy’s loading doors (in this case, the delivery wagon doors) opened to an elevator shaft. This design cut down on loading time, as long as the elevator was operational. Of course, if it was otherwise occupied, there could be no traffic through the exterior doors!
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.
Sleeping bags mark this former courtyard as a crash pad for the local homeless.
The buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.
The lower portal of the Selby Tunnel, as it looks today. The area is a popular spot for homeless to camp–can you spot the tent?
One of the staircases that connected the lab, the plant, and the offices.
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.
An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
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.
Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.
Rust undermines the decade old graffiti on the steel bin.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
Dora, the pagan god of urban explorers, stood little chance off Alfred Street.
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”)
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
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.
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.
A retrofitted dust collector stands out from the geometry of the roofline.
A machine to cast copper billets.
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…
Delmar #4 is like two elevators in one, in capacity and design.
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
These stairs were probably removed to discourage scrapping and graffiti. Ask me if it worked.
2010. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
The exterior of the factory is unassuming
…a little close for comfort.
The first floor of the Industrial Loft building.
Generations of Two Harbors teens smoked their first weed in this abandoned building, in my estimation. Comment if I’m right!
The top of the barracks staircase.
The entry point for the painting shed on the top floor. Cars would have a few feet in between them before they entered. Separate sheds would prime and add color.
Like looking out of an airship.
Looking through a launcher doorway at an outbuilding… the fire truck garage, if I recall correctly. Fomapan medium format in Pentax 67.
One of the few doors.
The classic Solvay shot. Everyone has it.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
This is how the warehouse looks today.
A board to track which miners are underground. Low tech, but very effective.
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.
A depiction of historic Liège, known for its rivers and hills.
Peering through the glass in the Hoist Operator’s cab, stained with graffiti. The cable and reels can be seen through the glass… these are now gone.
The stairs that connect the breakwater and light station (Leica M6/Kodak Ektar).
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
In what has turned into a kind of industrial courtyard between four ovens some people have posted their tags. X was here.
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
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.
The left cave is the largest of the three, and shows the most evidence of expansion.
The historic entrance of the mill, alongside the (relatively) new Great Western offices.
This heavy door opens directly into the missile vault and was used to load and unload the missile erector.
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.
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.
A theater turned skate park. How did that happen?
Strange graffiti in a side room. Someone was having fun…
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.
Ladders crawl the back of the signs. Graffiti writers’ right of passage.
“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 ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
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.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4 looks rough these days. You can tell how high the children of Thunder Bay can throw a rock.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
Just outside of the blast furnace is a series of platforms and catwalks to bring workers to the stoves.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.