Many outdoor areas of the plant have become unofficial city dumps. The skeleton doesn’t care.
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.
I like to imagine this as an old-timey radio microphone.
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.
Scrappers tried to take this steel pulley out of Fisher, but it proved too heavy.
Note the pit is filled in here.
The largest extant structure when I visited.
Like looking out of an airship.
A polaroid (FP100c, actually) of the newer grain car dumper.
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.
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.
A typical stretch of the assembly line.
The classic Solvay shot. Everyone has it.
Looking through a launcher doorway at an outbuilding… the fire truck garage, if I recall correctly. Fomapan medium format in Pentax 67.
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.
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.
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.
These pools looked into the cribbing below the concrete.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
A skyway 100 feet above this office crumbled one day. This is what happened when those two met. High-impact love.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
The projector booth, above the balcony in the auditorium.
Ruined cars abandoned in the generator hall, long after its namesake was scrapped.
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.
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.
A theater turned skate park. How did that happen?
The left cave is the largest of the three, and shows the most evidence of expansion.
Some of the earlier buildings were dressed up with brick facades.
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.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
2010. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
A different kind of tree fort.
A door covered in pen graffiti.
Dora, the pagan god of urban explorers, stood little chance off Alfred Street.
The grand staircase with little balconies leaning over it. All the stone stairs are broken and graffiti marks every wall.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
Although the floors are pretty warped, I can’t imagine one could do many tricks off of them.
Generations of Two Harbors teens smoked their first weed in this abandoned building, in my estimation. Comment if I’m right!
Looking through a secure ward door at the destroyed rooms beyond.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
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 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.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
Mill Hell before the University of Minnesota began developing the area. Now many of the buildings are gone, there are new roads and even bike paths.
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?
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.
An iron gate separates vaults below the barracks.
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.
Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.
The buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.
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…
Ladders crawl the back of the signs. Graffiti writers’ right of passage.
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.
The stairs that connect the breakwater and light station (Leica M6/Kodak Ektar).
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.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
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.
The long control room overlooks giant caps where equipment was removed long ago.
In its later years, metal was welded over every door and window on the ground floor.
Delmar #4 is like two elevators in one, in capacity and design.
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.
The glow from the city is bright enough to read by.
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.
This concrete sections supported a coal tower that loaded the larry.
I really liked the bulky pillars on this outer-ring cottage.
The Atlas D command building. As Brutalist as it gets.
This is how the warehouse looks today.
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.
Looking through the dark door at Shaft 3, when my naked eyes could only make out a staircase lit dimly from above.
From the summer a bunch of Australians visited Minnesota.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
One leg of the headframe meets the hoist house. Two cranes are rusted in place.
The sound of water running in the distance.
Platforms and abandoned outbuildings, as seen in 2005.
Just outside of the blast furnace is a series of platforms and catwalks to bring workers to the stoves.
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.
Death. About two seconds after the explosives were triggered.
It’s not hard to see how Germany could turn these into a prison overnight.
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.
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.
One of the few doors.
Squinting from the top floor through the skyway, one can feel small, like they’re in a heavy industrial dollhouse.
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.
This heavy door opens directly into the missile vault and was used to load and unload the missile erector.
Furnace #6; its catwalk and tapway. Note the lever-operated gutter-blockers.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
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.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
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.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
One last look in the mirror before you turn around and walk onstage…
Don Crist ’83. Brick Graffiti Series.
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.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
One of the staircases that connected the lab, the plant, and the offices.
On the upper floors where the sunlight is yellow–the color of flour dust, once exposed to the elements.
You can see almost ever level of the factory from this spot.
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
See http://www.thecarriedeer.com/ for details.
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”)
Reflections of graffiti during spring melt.
The parking lot is in better condition than most of the complex. The left building is the lab.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
Looking out of the labs at the company garages.
The concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
A machine to cast copper billets.
The back of the Lyric, including the offices at the back of the theater.
Two charmers, I’m sure. This area was a coal pit for the nearby power plant.
Sunbeams under the sintering belt. Support cradles for the wires crossing the factory are falling down.
A rooftop scene.
All electrical rooms were surrounded by walls, for obvious reasons. Now all the walls are gone, for reasons less obvious.
My friends know that redheads are my greatest weakness.
To the right is the spiral staircase. This building had a definite “floor problem”.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
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.
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.
90% of Brach’s looks like this. Concrete walls, mushroom pillars, and water over the floor.
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.
Looking through the old brewhouse toward the Keg Wash House.
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.
The cold air collided with the sun-warmed water on the floor, filling the ground floor of the Keg House with thick fog…
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.
Sleeping bags mark this former courtyard as a crash pad for the local homeless.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
The historic entrance of the mill, alongside the (relatively) new Great Western offices.
The grain-centric buildings had automatic fire doors.
A small machine shop level.
Watching the sun set behind downtown Detroit is my favorite memory from the building.
The taller of the two smokestacks on site. Note the crack around its crown.
The top of the barracks staircase.
Downtown and the blight.
The working end of the blast furnace, where molten metal would flow like lava out of the furnace… a process called ‘tapping’.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
Serve [unknown] Build… What do you think the middle says? Tell me in the comments.
Another. Planet. Coal crushers and the coke loading line.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
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.
“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…”
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
Rust undermines the decade old graffiti on the steel bin.
Whoever did this: good job. You get it.
…a little close for comfort.
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.
…out of our depth.
Police tape marks were kids got hurt in the past… probably from falling from the unstable catwalk above.
Inside the MLK High School chemistry laboratory.
The main floor of the hospital was crammed with furniture.
Where the drain changes shape from round concrete to arched brick.
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.
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.
The first floor of the Industrial Loft building.
I like to imagine this as fountain.
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
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.
Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.
Jef throws open the back door of an alley for the trailing photographers and historians.
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.
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
The old hospital (left) and ugly modern additions (right).
An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
Looking into the engine works from the concrete addition.
It’s a small world… look at it.
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!
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.
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”.
The roof compromised, rain water rolls down the main stairway.
From the catwalks below the hoisting motor in Shaft No. 1.
At noon, the lower skylights around the shops glow yellow-green, thanks to the flora blooming on the roof above.
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 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.
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.
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.
Wide stairs between the ground, the mine shaft, and the dry house.
A view of the Harris offices, complete with great block glass.
On the left, the formula for the sintering mix was written (“mischungszusammenselzung”) to keep track of the jobs.
A natural reaction with this kind of view.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4 looks rough these days. You can tell how high the children of Thunder Bay can throw a rock.
I’ll remember the neon glow fondly.
Early bird catches the shadow of Battle Mountain blaring across the ghost town.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 new concrete workhouse, as seen through chickenwire.
Next to the pit in the maintenance shop is “The Wall”… where rail workers wrote about interesting happenings at Shoreham.
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?
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.
C’mon, guys. PIck up to trash.
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.