An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
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.
This building is now being used to grow fish.
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.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
A rooftop scene.
Whoever did this: good job. You get it.
A retrofitted dust collector stands out from the geometry of the roofline.
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.
Watching the sun set behind downtown Detroit is my favorite memory from the building.
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.
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.
Ruined cars abandoned in the generator hall, long after its namesake was scrapped.
Found in one of the rooms that hosted an inpatient chemical dependency unit in its later years. Connect the dots yourself.
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 http://www.thecarriedeer.com/ for details.
The glow from the city is bright enough to read by.
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
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.
A burned and rusted control panel in the corner of the new hoist room.
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
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.
Where the drain changes shape from round concrete to arched brick.
At this junction where Brewery Creek gets a breath of fresh air stands a kid holding a paintbrush: a Banksy (famous graffiti artist) ripoff.
A view of the Harris offices, complete with great block glass.
A door covered in pen graffiti.
This heavy door opens directly into the missile vault and was used to load and unload the missile erector.
Sunbeams under the sintering belt. Support cradles for the wires crossing the factory are falling down.
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.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
This is how the warehouse looks today.
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”)
Rust undermines the decade old graffiti on the steel bin.
2010. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
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.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
Looking through a secure ward door at the destroyed rooms beyond.
The new concrete workhouse, as seen through chickenwire.
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.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4 looks rough these days. You can tell how high the children of Thunder Bay can throw a rock.
The old hospital (left) and ugly modern additions (right).
These pools looked into the cribbing below the concrete.
Old parts catalogs litter the floor. The office overlooks empty shelves. Graffiti glue peeling paint in place.
Copper thieves haven’t left anything behind but the shell.
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.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
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.
A polaroid (FP100c, actually) of the newer grain car dumper.
The State School stage, taken as it was getting scrapped.
Death. About two seconds after the explosives were triggered.
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
The classic Solvay shot. Everyone has it.
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.
The concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
Note the pit is filled in here.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
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.
I’ll remember the neon glow fondly.
The exterior of the factory is unassuming
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.
To the right is the spiral staircase. This building had a definite “floor problem”.
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.
I really liked the bulky pillars on this outer-ring cottage.
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.
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.
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.
Above the offices is this little section of factory that still has strips of wood flooring. This may be where the upholstery was cut.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.
Scrappers tried to take this steel pulley out of Fisher, but it proved too heavy.
Many outdoor areas of the plant have become unofficial city dumps. The skeleton doesn’t care.
The tops of the coke stoves.
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?
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.
Serve [unknown] Build… What do you think the middle says? Tell me in the comments.
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.
Just outside of the blast furnace is a series of platforms and catwalks to bring workers to the stoves.
The Atlas D command building. As Brutalist as it gets.
Between the catwalks of Furnace 6, the molted ore would flow through the chute.
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.
Dora, the pagan god of urban explorers, stood little chance off Alfred Street.
Ruster at The Pool… employee graffiti about 100 above ground.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
A matrix panorama of the brewhouse staircase, post-scrapping. So pretty…
A ruined culvert near Oregon Creek, behind Old Main, the predecessor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
The cold air collided with the sun-warmed water on the floor, filling the ground floor of the Keg House with thick fog…
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
The projector booth, above the balcony in the auditorium.
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.
I tried to hide the graffiti from my photos, but sometimes it wasn’t possible.
I wonder how polluted that water is.
The back of the Lyric, including the offices at the back of the theater.
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.
My friends know that redheads are my greatest weakness.
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.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
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 first floor of the Industrial Loft building.
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.
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
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!
The parking lot is in better condition than most of the complex. The left building is the lab.
Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.
On the left, the formula for the sintering mix was written (“mischungszusammenselzung”) to keep track of the jobs.
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
Two charmers, I’m sure. This area was a coal pit for the nearby power plant.
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.
Looking into the engine works from the concrete addition.
One of the few doors.
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.
Rims where bulbs were, light were motors were, stairs were people were.
These stairs were probably removed to discourage scrapping and graffiti. Ask me if it worked.
The top of the barracks staircase.
Brewery Creek Waterfall, somewhere above Duluth. Lit with candles and a small LED panel. To me, it looked like a pipe pouring molten metal.
The taller of the two smokestacks on site. Note the crack around its crown.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
Looking into the main workhouse from the skyway into the annex elevator. But who care? Look at the colors!
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
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.
Like looking out of an airship.
All electrical rooms were surrounded by walls, for obvious reasons. Now all the walls are gone, for reasons less obvious.
From the catwalks below the hoisting motor in Shaft No. 1.
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.
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 noon, the lower skylights around the shops glow yellow-green, thanks to the flora blooming on the roof above.
The buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.
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 typical stretch of the assembly line.
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.
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.
Although the floors are pretty warped, I can’t imagine one could do many tricks off of them.
The grain-centric buildings had automatic fire doors.
The grand staircase with little balconies leaning over it. All the stone stairs are broken and graffiti marks every wall.
…a little close for comfort.
The stairs that connect the breakwater and light station (Leica M6/Kodak Ektar).
Looking through a launcher doorway at an outbuilding… the fire truck garage, if I recall correctly. Fomapan medium format in Pentax 67.
Additional Sacred Heart Building (1949) Collapse, 2012, Courtesy Chris Naffziger @ http://stlouispatina.blogspot.com/2011/12/st-marys-infirmary.html
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
The top of the annex was bare except for these holes into the silos below.
The bricks routinely fell from the walls, like seeds falling from trees. On a smaller scale, new walls grew from the floors.
One last look in the mirror before you turn around and walk onstage…
Ladders crawl the back of the signs. Graffiti writers’ right of passage.
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
The roof compromised, rain water rolls down the main stairway.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
The left cave is the largest of the three, and shows the most evidence of expansion.
The largest extant structure when I visited.
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
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.
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.
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.
A view from the loft in the shipping/receiving building, where the crane operator would step into his cab.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
Downtown and the blight.
In its later years, metal was welded over every door and window on the ground floor.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
Another. Planet. Coal crushers and the coke loading line.
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!
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 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.
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.
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.
“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 end of the blast furnace, where molten metal would flow like lava out of the furnace… a process called ‘tapping’.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
The company labs. If you can believe it, this area is even more destroyed today.
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.
The main floor of the hospital was crammed with furniture.
A colorful makeshift wall.
Some guerilla art for passing drivers on I-94 East to enjoy. Artist unknown.
The long control room overlooks giant caps where equipment was removed long ago.
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.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
A natural reaction with this kind of view.
From the boarded-up choir loft above the chapel, minutes after sunrise. Obviously local kids have long had their way with this landmark.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
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.
It’s not hard to see how Germany could turn these into a prison overnight.
A theater turned skate park. How did that happen?
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 through the old brewhouse toward the Keg Wash House.
Some of the earlier buildings were dressed up with brick facades.
The city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
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.
The bottom area of the smokestacks house storage spaces. The windows of these rooms that were never completed line up perfect.
Go on and jump in, if you want, there’s even a ladder to climb out.
Looking out of the labs at the company garages.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.
Looking up the grand stair at the second floor.
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.
Reflections of graffiti during spring melt.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
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.
…out of our depth.