The classic Solvay shot. Everyone has it.
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.
I tried to hide the graffiti from my photos, but sometimes it wasn’t possible.
A retrofitted dust collector stands out from the geometry of the roofline.
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.
Just outside of the blast furnace is a series of platforms and catwalks to bring workers to the stoves.
A burned and rusted control panel in the corner of the new hoist room.
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.
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.
A different kind of tree fort.
Wide stairs between the ground, the mine shaft, and the dry house.
A skyway 100 feet above this office crumbled one day. This is what happened when those two met. High-impact love.
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!
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.
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.
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 colorful makeshift wall.
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
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
The Atlas D command building. As Brutalist as it gets.
Next to the pit in the maintenance shop is “The Wall”… where rail workers wrote about interesting happenings at Shoreham.
In what has turned into a kind of industrial courtyard between four ovens some people have posted their tags. X was here.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
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.
The old hospital (left) and ugly modern additions (right).
The historic entrance of the mill, alongside the (relatively) new Great Western offices.
Between the catwalks of Furnace 6, the molted ore would flow through the chute.
A view from the loft in the shipping/receiving building, where the crane operator would step into his cab.
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.
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
The State School stage, taken as it was getting scrapped.
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.
Ruster at The Pool… employee graffiti about 100 above ground.
Reflections of graffiti during spring melt.
The working end of the blast furnace, where molten metal would flow like lava out of the furnace… a process called ‘tapping’.
You can see almost ever level of the factory from this spot.
I really liked the bulky pillars on this outer-ring cottage.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
Death. About two seconds after the explosives were triggered.
C’mon, guys. PIck up to trash.
Found in one of the rooms that hosted an inpatient chemical dependency unit in its later years. Connect the dots yourself.
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 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 company labs. If you can believe it, this area is even more destroyed today.
The tops of the coke stoves.
The grain-centric buildings had automatic fire doors.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
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.
The bricks routinely fell from the walls, like seeds falling from trees. On a smaller scale, new walls grew from the floors.
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.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
Additional Sacred Heart Building (1949) Collapse, 2012, Courtesy Chris Naffziger @ http://stlouispatina.blogspot.com/2011/12/st-marys-infirmary.html
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.
Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.
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.
A view of the Harris offices, complete with great block glass.
This is how the warehouse looks today.
It’s a small world… look at it.
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 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…
Furnace #6; its catwalk and tapway. Note the lever-operated gutter-blockers.
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 roof compromised, rain water rolls down the main stairway.
Some guerilla art for passing drivers on I-94 East to enjoy. Artist unknown.
See http://www.thecarriedeer.com/ for details.
This heavy door opens directly into the missile vault and was used to load and unload the missile erector.
A rooftop scene.
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.
Between the repair shops and the stock department is this odd little structure. No, the walls are not level–it’s not your eyes. The shops slope left, the structure slopes right.
In its later years, metal was welded over every door and window on the ground floor.
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 into the main workhouse from the skyway into the annex elevator. But who care? Look at the colors!
Go on and jump in, if you want, there’s even a ladder to climb out.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
A tunnel between the outside gate and the courtyard shared by the barracks.
Rust undermines the decade old graffiti on the steel bin.
One leg of the headframe meets the hoist house. Two cranes are rusted in place.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
Looking through the dark door at Shaft 3, when my naked eyes could only make out a staircase lit dimly from above.
Rims where bulbs were, light were motors were, stairs were people were.
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 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.
Watching the sun set behind downtown Detroit is my favorite memory from the building.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
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.
The new concrete workhouse, as seen through chickenwire.
Furnace #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
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.
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?
To the right is the spiral staircase. This building had a definite “floor problem”.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
Boards on the window are like rings on a tree, if you know how to read abandonments.
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.
The taller of the two smokestacks on site. Note the crack around its crown.
The long control room overlooks giant caps where equipment was removed long ago.
Sunrise in the orphanage… between classrooms and whispers.
Where the drain changes shape from round concrete to arched brick.
One of the staircases that connected the lab, the plant, and the offices.
Downtown and the blight.
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.
“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…”
Sunbeams under the sintering belt. Support cradles for the wires crossing the factory are falling down.
Delmar #4 is like two elevators in one, in capacity and design.
Looking out of the labs at the company garages.
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.
Like looking out of an airship.
Above the offices is this little section of factory that still has strips of wood flooring. This may be where the upholstery was cut.
On the left, the formula for the sintering mix was written (“mischungszusammenselzung”) to keep track of the jobs.
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.
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.
At noon, the lower skylights around the shops glow yellow-green, thanks to the flora blooming on the roof above.
Many outdoor areas of the plant have become unofficial city dumps. The skeleton doesn’t care.
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.
Looking up the grand stair at the second floor.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
The left cave is the largest of the three, and shows the most evidence of expansion.
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 small machine shop level.
The back of the Lyric, including the offices at the back of the theater.
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 polaroid (FP100c, actually) of the newer grain car dumper.
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
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.
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.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
A ruined culvert near Oregon Creek, behind Old Main, the predecessor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
90% of Brach’s looks like this. Concrete walls, mushroom pillars, and water over the floor.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
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.
Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.
These pools looked into the cribbing below the concrete.
The largest extant structure when I visited.
The crumbling building barely contained the colors inside of it.
The top of the barracks staircase.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
Another. Planet. Coal crushers and the coke loading line.
A board to track which miners are underground. Low tech, but very effective.
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.
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.
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 is one of the rooms near Shaft 1 that was converted to be a Dry Room, where workers would wash and change between shifts.
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
A natural reaction with this kind of view.
These stairs were probably removed to discourage scrapping and graffiti. Ask me if it worked.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4 looks rough these days. You can tell how high the children of Thunder Bay can throw a rock.
One last look in the mirror before you turn around and walk onstage…
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.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
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 buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.
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?
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.
A typical stretch of the assembly line.
An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
The glow from the city is bright enough to read by.
The first floor of the Industrial Loft building.
Much of the signage in the mill was hand-drawn.
Ruined cars abandoned in the generator hall, long after its namesake was scrapped.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
A look down the 1950s foundry building, moments after sunset.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
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”)
Squinting from the top floor through the skyway, one can feel small, like they’re in a heavy industrial dollhouse.
Don Crist ’83. Brick Graffiti Series.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.
Old parts catalogs litter the floor. The office overlooks empty shelves. Graffiti glue peeling paint in place.
Inside the MLK High School chemistry laboratory.
A machine to cast copper billets.
A door covered in pen graffiti.
All electrical rooms were surrounded by walls, for obvious reasons. Now all the walls are gone, for reasons less obvious.
Copper thieves haven’t left anything behind but the shell.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
A typical room in the barracks, reinforced from mortars and light shelling, possibly.
A bird near the old schoolyard.
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 cold air collided with the sun-warmed water on the floor, filling the ground floor of the Keg House with thick fog…
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.
From the summer a bunch of Australians visited Minnesota.
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
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.
Looking through a secure ward door at the destroyed rooms beyond.
Two charmers, I’m sure. This area was a coal pit for the nearby power plant.
An iron gate separates vaults below the barracks.
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.
Jef throws open the back door of an alley for the trailing photographers and historians.