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.
One of the staircases that connected the lab, the plant, and the offices.
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.
One last look in the mirror before you turn around and walk onstage…
Some of the earlier buildings were dressed up with brick facades.
My friends know that redheads are my greatest weakness.
In what has turned into a kind of industrial courtyard between four ovens some people have posted their tags. X was here.
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.
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.
Downtown and the blight.
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
All electrical rooms were surrounded by walls, for obvious reasons. Now all the walls are gone, for reasons less obvious.
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.
Boards on the window are like rings on a tree, if you know how to read abandonments.
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 is how the warehouse looks today.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
Ruster at The Pool… employee graffiti about 100 above ground.
A view from the loft in the shipping/receiving building, where the crane operator would step into his cab.
…a little close for comfort.
A 8-foot-tall volume indicator that could be read from across the beet boiler floor–convenient when the controls are 20 feet away.
At noon, the lower skylights around the shops glow yellow-green, thanks to the flora blooming on the roof above.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
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.
Scrappers tried to take this steel pulley out of Fisher, but it proved too heavy.
The parking lot is in better condition than most of the complex. The left building is the lab.
Serve [unknown] Build… What do you think the middle says? Tell me in the comments.
A burned and rusted control panel in the corner of the new hoist room.
Wide stairs between the ground, the mine shaft, and the dry house.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
Rust undermines the decade old graffiti on the steel bin.
Sleeping bags mark this former courtyard as a crash pad for the local homeless.
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.
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.
You can see almost ever level of the factory from this spot.
Another. Planet. Coal crushers and the coke loading line.
One of the few doors.
The cold air collided with the sun-warmed water on the floor, filling the ground floor of the Keg House with thick fog…
The glow from the city is bright enough to read by.
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.
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.
Reflections of graffiti during spring melt.
Looking through the dark door at Shaft 3, when my naked eyes could only make out a staircase lit dimly from above.
An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
The projector booth, above the balcony in the auditorium.
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.
These stairs were probably removed to discourage scrapping and graffiti. Ask me if it worked.
The concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
Death. About two seconds after the explosives were triggered.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4 looks rough these days. You can tell how high the children of Thunder Bay can throw a rock.
A bird near the old schoolyard.
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.
From the catwalks below the hoisting motor in Shaft No. 1.
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.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
A theater turned skate park. How did that happen?
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.
Although the floors are pretty warped, I can’t imagine one could do many tricks off of them.
Looking through a launcher doorway at an outbuilding… the fire truck garage, if I recall correctly. Fomapan medium format in Pentax 67.
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.
Ultimately, it was the bad roof that doomed these buildings.
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
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 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.
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.
Platforms and abandoned outbuildings, as seen in 2005.
I really liked the bulky pillars on this outer-ring cottage.
The largest extant structure when I visited.
The long control room overlooks giant caps where equipment was removed long ago.
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.
Note the pit is filled in here.
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.
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 bricks routinely fell from the walls, like seeds falling from trees. On a smaller scale, new walls grew from the floors.
Like looking out of an airship.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
The buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.
The State School stage, taken as it was getting scrapped.
A ruined culvert near Oregon Creek, behind Old Main, the predecessor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Ruined cars abandoned in the generator hall, long after its namesake was scrapped.
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.
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.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
The historic entrance of the mill, alongside the (relatively) new Great Western offices.
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.
Copper thieves haven’t left anything behind but the shell.
Looking into the engine works from the concrete addition.
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 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 like to imagine this as an old-timey radio microphone.
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.
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.
90% of Brach’s looks like this. Concrete walls, mushroom pillars, and water over the floor.
The exterior of the factory is unassuming
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.
The main floor of the hospital was crammed with furniture.
The company labs. If you can believe it, this area is even more destroyed today.
“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…”
Two charmers, I’m sure. This area was a coal pit for the nearby power plant.
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.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
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
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.
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.
Police tape marks were kids got hurt in the past… probably from falling from the unstable catwalk above.
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.
Dora, the pagan god of urban explorers, stood little chance off Alfred Street.
The working end of the blast furnace, where molten metal would flow like lava out of the furnace… a process called ‘tapping’.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
C’mon, guys. PIck up to trash.
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”)
To the right is the spiral staircase. This building had a definite “floor problem”.
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
A matrix panorama of the brewhouse staircase, post-scrapping. So pretty…
I like to imagine this as fountain.
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.
The roof compromised, rain water rolls down the main stairway.
The new concrete workhouse, as seen through chickenwire.
Rims where bulbs were, light were motors were, stairs were people were.
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.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
The back of the Lyric, including the offices at the back of the theater.
At this junction where Brewery Creek gets a breath of fresh air stands a kid holding a paintbrush: a Banksy (famous graffiti artist) ripoff.
The grain-centric buildings had automatic fire doors.
Looking into the main workhouse from the skyway into the annex elevator. But who care? Look at the colors!
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.
These pools looked into the cribbing below the concrete.
Whoever did this: good job. You get it.
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
I wonder how polluted that water is.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
Looking through a secure ward door at the destroyed rooms beyond.
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.
Go on and jump in, if you want, there’s even a ladder to climb out.
Found in one of the rooms that hosted an inpatient chemical dependency unit in its later years. Connect the dots yourself.
One leg of the headframe meets the hoist house. Two cranes are rusted in place.
Early bird catches the shadow of Battle Mountain blaring across the ghost town.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
A rooftop scene.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
Delmar #4 is like two elevators in one, in capacity and design.
It’s a small world… look at it.
Some guerilla art for passing drivers on I-94 East to enjoy. Artist unknown.
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.
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.
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.
Looking up the grand stair at the second floor.
Between the catwalks of Furnace 6, the molted ore would flow through the chute.
This building is now being used to grow fish.
The grand staircase with little balconies leaning over it. All the stone stairs are broken and graffiti marks every wall.
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 different kind of tree fort.
Watching the sun set behind downtown Detroit is my favorite memory from the building.
Much of the signage in the mill was hand-drawn.
The Atlas D command building. As Brutalist as it gets.
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.
Don Crist ’83. Brick Graffiti Series.
A depiction of historic Liège, known for its rivers and hills.
A typical room in the barracks, reinforced from mortars and light shelling, possibly.
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?
Above the offices is this little section of factory that still has strips of wood flooring. This may be where the upholstery was cut.
Sunbeams under the sintering belt. Support cradles for the wires crossing the factory are falling down.
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.
On the left, the formula for the sintering mix was written (“mischungszusammenselzung”) to keep track of the jobs.
Furnace #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
The crumbling building barely contained the colors inside of it.
A look down the 1950s foundry building, moments after sunset.
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 board to track which miners are underground. Low tech, but very effective.
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 taller of the two smokestacks on site. Note the crack around its crown.
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 city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.
The first floor of the Industrial Loft building.
A machine to cast copper billets.
The top of the annex was bare except for these holes into the silos below.
Inside the MLK High School chemistry laboratory.
A retrofitted dust collector stands out from the geometry of the roofline.
On the upper floors where the sunlight is yellow–the color of flour dust, once exposed to the elements.
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.
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.
From the summer a bunch of Australians visited Minnesota.
An iron gate separates vaults below the barracks.
The classic Solvay shot. Everyone has 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.
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.