The bottom area of the smokestacks house storage spaces. The windows of these rooms that were never completed line up perfect.
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
The tops of the coke stoves.
Serve [unknown] Build… What do you think the middle says? Tell me in the comments.
The largest extant structure when I visited.
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 theater turned skate park. How did that happen?
This heavy door opens directly into the missile vault and was used to load and unload the missile erector.
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.
The classic Solvay shot. Everyone has it.
Ultimately, it was the bad roof that doomed these buildings.
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.
The grain-centric buildings had automatic fire doors.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
Brewery Creek Waterfall, somewhere above Duluth. Lit with candles and a small LED panel. To me, it looked like a pipe pouring molten metal.
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.
Just outside of the blast furnace is a series of platforms and catwalks to bring workers to the stoves.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
“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…”
Looking into the main workhouse from the skyway into the annex elevator. But who care? Look at the colors!
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
The exterior of the factory is unassuming
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
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.
…a little close for comfort.
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
Early bird catches the shadow of Battle Mountain blaring across the ghost town.
My friends know that redheads are my greatest weakness.
Old parts catalogs litter the floor. The office overlooks empty shelves. Graffiti glue peeling paint in place.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some of the earlier buildings were dressed up with brick facades.
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.
This is how the warehouse looks today.
Wide stairs between the ground, the mine shaft, and the dry house.
The bricks routinely fell from the walls, like seeds falling from trees. On a smaller scale, new walls grew from the floors.
Sunrise in the orphanage… between classrooms and whispers.
Note the pit is filled in here.
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.
Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
I tried to hide the graffiti from my photos, but sometimes it wasn’t possible.
An iron gate separates vaults below the barracks.
I wonder what this guy is thinking, walking through the complex.
Much of the signage in the mill was hand-drawn.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
A 8-foot-tall volume indicator that could be read from across the beet boiler floor–convenient when the controls are 20 feet away.
Squinting from the top floor through the skyway, one can feel small, like they’re in a heavy industrial dollhouse.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
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.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
Looking through the dark door at Shaft 3, when my naked eyes could only make out a staircase lit dimly from above.
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.
Downtown and the blight.
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 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.
I like to imagine this as fountain.
Ruster at The Pool… employee graffiti about 100 above ground.
Two charmers, I’m sure. This area was a coal pit for the nearby power plant.
The State School stage, taken as it was getting scrapped.
Delmar #4 is like two elevators in one, in capacity and design.
A ruined culvert near Oregon Creek, behind Old Main, the predecessor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Next to the pit in the maintenance shop is “The Wall”… where rail workers wrote about interesting happenings at Shoreham.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
A tunnel between the outside gate and the courtyard shared by the barracks.
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.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
Found in one of the rooms that hosted an inpatient chemical dependency unit in its later years. Connect the dots yourself.
From the summer a bunch of Australians visited Minnesota.
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
Furnace #6; its catwalk and tapway. Note the lever-operated gutter-blockers.
The crumbling building barely contained the colors inside of it.
Boards on the window are like rings on a tree, if you know how to read abandonments.
Watching the sun set behind downtown Detroit is my favorite memory from the building.
Go on and jump in, if you want, there’s even a ladder to climb out.
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.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
A bird near the old schoolyard.
The Atlas D command building. As Brutalist as it gets.
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.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
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?
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.
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 only thing that signals that this was an office building, rather than another production floor, is the small amount of wood paneling that remains.
These pools looked into the cribbing below the concrete.
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 natural reaction with this kind of view.
Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.
Sunbeams under the sintering belt. Support cradles for the wires crossing the factory are falling down.
A look down the 1950s foundry building, moments after sunset.
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 typical stretch of the assembly line.
Whoever did this: good job. You get it.
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.
On the upper floors where the sunlight is yellow–the color of flour dust, once exposed to the elements.
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 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.
I’ll remember the neon glow fondly.
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.
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.
An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
Rust undermines the decade old graffiti on the steel bin.
Platforms and abandoned outbuildings, as seen in 2005.
Looking out of the labs at the company garages.
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.
One leg of the headframe meets the hoist house. Two cranes are rusted in place.
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.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
Where the drain changes shape from round concrete to arched brick.
Looking up the grand stair at the second floor.
These stairs were probably removed to discourage scrapping and graffiti. Ask me if it worked.
C’mon, guys. PIck up to trash.
One of the few doors.
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.
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 different kind of tree fort.
From the boarded-up choir loft above the chapel, minutes after sunrise. Obviously local kids have long had their way with this landmark.
Copper thieves haven’t left anything behind but the shell.
This concrete sections supported a coal tower that loaded the larry.
Scrappers tried to take this steel pulley out of Fisher, but it proved too heavy.
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.
Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.
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.
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
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.
The roof compromised, rain water rolls down the main stairway.
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.
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
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
From the catwalks below the hoisting motor in Shaft No. 1.
Between the catwalks of Furnace 6, the molted ore would flow through the chute.
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 retrofitted dust collector stands out from the geometry of the roofline.
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.
One of the staircases that connected the lab, the plant, and the offices.
Death. About two seconds after the explosives were triggered.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
The concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!
The left cave is the largest of the three, and shows the most evidence of expansion.
I wonder how polluted that water is.
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.
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.
A small machine shop level.
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).
Don Crist ’83. Brick Graffiti Series.
Another. Planet. Coal crushers and the coke loading line.
Sleeping bags mark this former courtyard as a crash pad for the local homeless.
2010. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
You can see almost ever level of the factory from this spot.
A polaroid (FP100c, actually) of the newer grain car dumper.
A board to track which miners are underground. Low tech, but very effective.
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 top of the annex was bare except for these holes into the silos below.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
Additional Sacred Heart Building (1949) Collapse, 2012, Courtesy Chris Naffziger @ http://stlouispatina.blogspot.com/2011/12/st-marys-infirmary.html
Furnace #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
A skyway 100 feet above this office crumbled one day. This is what happened when those two met. High-impact love.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
A colorful makeshift wall.
A machine to cast copper billets.
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.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
The projector booth, above the balcony in the auditorium.
Dora, the pagan god of urban explorers, stood little chance off Alfred Street.
To the right is the spiral staircase. This building had a definite “floor problem”.
Reflections of graffiti during spring melt.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
A burned and rusted control panel in the corner of the new hoist room.
I like to imagine this as an old-timey radio microphone.
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.
Like looking out of an airship.
In what has turned into a kind of industrial courtyard between four ovens some people have posted their tags. X was here.
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 buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.
Looking through a launcher doorway at an outbuilding… the fire truck garage, if I recall correctly. Fomapan medium format in Pentax 67.
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…
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.
Police tape marks were kids got hurt in the past… probably from falling from the unstable catwalk above.
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 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.
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 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?
All electrical rooms were surrounded by walls, for obvious reasons. Now all the walls are gone, for reasons less obvious.
It’s not hard to see how Germany could turn these into a prison overnight.
The taller of the two smokestacks on site. Note the crack around its crown.
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”.
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.
Although the floors are pretty warped, I can’t imagine one could do many tricks off of them.