The largest extant structure when I visited.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
Taken several years before the tornado story when the weather, and the condition of the buildings, were nice.
Looking out of the elevators. Canada Malting, Vitera A and Vitera B in the background.
Tornadic fronts duel over the retired missile launcher.
Raab strolling where the coal and ore would be dumped by trains that traveled along the top of the concrete pilings.
Heavy industrial looks good in cotton candy pink.
Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.
The pitch of the roof is more typical for areas with lots of snow—not the border of Ohio and Kentucky. So, I assume this roofline accommodated some equipment inside for trains—note the tracks.
Between lines of Number Sixes right after sun rose behind them. This photo shows how extremely lush the grounds are that make getting around in some places impossible.
A set of air intakes and exhaust pipes over the buried communications and control equipment rooms.
“Man has set for himself the goal of conquering the world but in the processes loses his soul.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer and historian.
Near the lower portal of the tunnel, a manhole cover seals the electrical connection for the streetcar line. Twin Cities Lines is the predecessor for Twin Cities Rapid Transit.
Mitchell Avenue, the main drag of a ghost town. Traces of asphalt and curbs are barely visible through patches of grass. In the old plan of the town, Mitchell Hotel would be to my direct left in this scene, and about 10 houses would flank this street to the left and right.
East Elevation of the Depot. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
I’m not sure, actually, whether this was an outhouse (right), but it seems likely. In any case, it was connected by a covered staircase to the Bunk House (left). The soil here was not all tailings, so there is a bit of thick grass–almost the only in sight!
This building had no identity issues. My chief regret was not spending more time documenting the ghost signs around the complex.
The powerplant was roughly in the middle of the rail works.
Near the old slag dump there are the remains of the pouring buckets that received the molten steel from the US Steel blast furnaces, filled to the brim with pig iron. They must be incredibly heavy!
The last of four radar domes on the base.
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 ghost town of Lauder, Manitoba. It’s seen better days, but I bet the TV reception on the flatlands is great.
A side door for the shop area with ivy crawling toward it.
Typical New Mexico ranch fencing. The power lines follow the rails between Springer and Wagon Mound.
From the bottom of the skyway I looked back, my eyes tracing the vines from the marsh up the smokestacks to the perfect Midwestern sky.
Coming to an inspirational poster near you… what should it read? ADVENTURE AWAITS? Don’t hang posters. Go outside.
The first time I saw Buffalo Central Terminal was from a westbound Empire Builder. In the foreground you can see the rows of platforms.
Shells of mixing buildings.
The side of a launcher, with outbuildings in the background. You can see the tracks where the roof would open before launch.
The flour mill (rear) and its elevators. The taller elevator was moved here in 1955, when the Harrisons bought it from Federal, who declared it surplus. The smaller elevator replaced an earlier smaller warehouse in 1926. Taken shortly after dawn. This one picture made the drive worth it, for me. Medium Format.
The Brown Hotel still stands, but has recently gone out of business again. One of the nice things about historic buildings in New Mexico, though, is things tend to stay around a lot longer than if they were subjected to lots of rain and snow. It will probably be reopened eventually.
Knowing that a tornado just passed nearby is less distressing when you’re surrounded by nuclear-attack-hardened buildings.
Wyoming has Montana’s ‘big sky’ reputation truly challenged.
This is what I believe to be the Masonic Cottage, where infected Freemasons would be treated together and enjoy some simple luxuries because of their social connections. Freemasonry is still popular in North Dakota.
Between elevators, a single tree has taken root. I think it’s growing out of a rail grade, so the seed might have fallen off of a train.
The only door into a large windowless concrete room, probably a storage bin. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
Ammunition had to be tested on site before shipment. That was done here. These heavy concrete bunkers deflected rounds harmlessly into the earth.
Gopher Ordnance Works, aka the U-Lands, is a landscape where roots and boughs break apart concrete and steel.
A rail maintenance building. I liked the color of the tree against the peeling red paint.
Bricks from the demolished buildings.
The screen and mineral stained window cross-processed the sky.
This elevator was built in 1922 and was used until the passing rails were removed in the mid-1970s.
This old Jetta did more offroading than your average lifted tinted loud-exhaust pickup.
These houses were built for the use of the lighthouse keepers in 1913 (left) and 1916 (right). The second house was added when the entry added a fourth light and required a second rotation. Today, there are no unbroken windows in either building.
See http://www.thecarriedeer.com/ for details.
This building was an office and lounge for engineers. It is also demolished.
A row of houses north of Pommenige.
Looking through Workhouse A from the top of a silo.
An article from Minnpost describes this design as “marital”, and I could not agree more.
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 portrait of the second school of McConnell, built in 1937.
…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.
Outbuildings for Tilston’s Five Roses elevator.
Castle, Montana is a ghost town. Almost no signs remain that it was a mining town.
The two antennae are retracted–the position they would be in if the base was under attack.
One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.
A gymnasium, if I recall. The last building before the road dead-ends.
The depot of Ringling is a very lonely looking building and there are many holes in its roof. There are no signs on it whatsoever.
The command building and a coolant tank. In the distance, rain and hail pound Wyoming dirt.
A dead work truck rusts near an outbuilding. Everything is marked with a code. Modernity.
“Crunch, crunch, crunch,” said the ground. “I know,” I replied.
The remains of the site radar beside the command building.
Solvent pumping buildings, designed to explode upwards rather than outwards in an emergency, are forgotten near the milkweed.
The substation has definite structural issues. Pictured is the sidewalk that connected the plant to the company housing.
Just across the North Dakota border, a rusty Milwaukee Road boxcar sits where it was shoved off the mainline. The grain elevator in the background marks the tracks, which is still used by BNSF.
An old name for an older elevator, as seen from an abandoned rail spur.
For some time, Purina ran a feed service out of the elevator. Inside and outside were signs of its past presence.
An abandoned house at Tilston, MB.
These were some of the most attractive shops of all the mines in the area. It’s no wonder Hanna Mining wanted to use them as their center of operations in the Iron River district.
1904 Sewer Lid in Central Hillside.
Model: Devan. Instagram: sextmachine
The blast pit carried the smoke and flame from the rocket motor away from the other base buildings.
This heavy door opens directly into the missile vault and was used to load and unload the missile erector.
An abandoned ranch on the east side of the tracks. This was not the Colmor Cutoff they were waiting for.
Bricks from the demolished buildings.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
The bottom of the tailings boom is rotten. In days when the dredge, floated, gangways connected it to shore, it seemed. You can see the size of the pontoons under the boat here.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
Hiking into the ghost town with enough gear to live there for a few days, if we wanted.
This is a great example of a combination rock house; the silos below used to fill trains with ore dropped from mine cars pulled to the top of the structure.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
In the bottom of a creek, an antique children’s wheelchair is buried in grass, where someone threw it. Wooden leg braces suggest this dates to the 1950s.
The St. Louis County Sheriff constantly patrols the property looking for trespassers.
Some guerilla art for passing drivers on I-94 East to enjoy. Artist unknown.
The side of Stelco and its scrubber-stacks. This is demolished now.
Two charmers, I’m sure. This area was a coal pit for the nearby power plant.
The main street of the ghost town is also the maintenance road for the BNSF line that bisects Colmor.
The metallic arms of the missile erector, which would stand rockets over the blast pit in the launch position. Medium Format film–cheap but excellent Fomapan 100 in a Pentax 67.
The mine is sandwiched between village townhomes.
Beside the half-demolished Thunder Bay Elevator shops and offices (brick building) are some rusting fishing boats. A little bit of SWP #7 is seen in the upper right.
The office was redder than the rest of the building.
The power gauge showed… broken.
Looking at ADM-1 from beside ADM-4, back when ADM-4 had a train shed and ADM-1 had a skyway. In the thick woods beneath the skyway was a long time homeless camp… most of its residents were very friendly.
Cobble streets wrap around the inside of the fort.
A wide view of the poor house. Look at the smokestack and elevator shaft, which show the former roofline.
The cemetery for the old asylum is, sadly, largely unmarked. Only in recent years has there been a real effort to locate and identify the remains there.
I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)
A stencil instructs the first and third shifts to ask security for access. Security was out during all my visits, except one mishap where a strung-out local chased me with a truck. Having spent a decade exploring the U.P., I was not caught off guard.
Near the base of the mesa is a modern house, which seems to be a ranch of some sort. What a fantastic spot to live, but for the fact every rainstorm floods the arryos, muddy ditches at the bottom of gullies, making it impossible to travel.
The hospital featured a farm that once helped to sustain it. This is one of the few remaining signs of those years, near the Nurse’s Cottage.
If it wasn’t for the humming and crackling of the wires, I could believe I had arrived to a post apocalyptic landscape.
A shot of Longmont from the highway. Fuji 35mm.
The old mill (right) and power plant (left) with the new mill behind them.
No matter what environmental disasters industry throws at Mother Earth, she will bounce back.
This was the exterior wall of the roundhouse; engines would have entered on the other side and machinery would line this side, hence the big windows for natural light.
The parking lot is in better condition than most of the complex. The left building is the lab.
Entrance to the plant. Hermes holds his iconic caduceus and a Model T. Demeter holds a tractor in a motif of wheat. A fantastic reimagining of the Greek, with an excerpt of the following quote by Sir Joshua Reynolds (18th century English painter): “Excellence is never granted to man but as the reward of labor. It argues no small strength of mind to persevere in habits of industry without the pleasure of perceiving those advances, which, like the hand of a clock, whilst they make hourly approaches to their point, yet proceed so slowly as to escape observation.”
Workers’ lockers, strewn across Main Street, yet still out of the way.
A row of houses north of Pommenige.
The Harrison flour mill, completed in 1897 and expanded in 1901 and 1902. The tunnel that I am standing on probably transported grain from the elevator to the mill. Medium Format.
An orphan culvert and camper, both tossed aside where nobody that will see will care.
Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.
Carter Color used to occupy this block.
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
One of the older buildings on the site, this is an old power house that provided electricity to the plant. I spent some time walking around it and believe it was fired with coal gas but had a diesel backup installed later.
The train loading tower (left), and elevators. Check out that giant flagpole/lightning rod.
The rails that used to go to the back of the complex are long gone, but the ties are still in the back of the parking lot.
Looking across the mountain tramway from an abandoned house in Gilman.
A squat building with a rail scale. Taken between rain showers in late summer, when I seemed to be the only one at White Pine.
The truck scale is closed at Lena, MB.
A single cloud makes its way to Buffington Harbor and Lake Michigan from the quiet backroads of the plant.
West Elevation of the Depot. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
Dead cars were parked permanently near the model farm. Perhaps it had an automotive program. After all, before they were ‘Indian Residential Schools’ they were ‘Indian Industrial Schools’.
A switch for the yard engines, now on the edge of the property where nobody will find it.
The portal facing Taconite Harbor (at a healthy distance) is mostly closed. Some kids put bullet holes in it. Shooting down a long tunnel is extremely dangerous, and you should not do it, obviously. Mamiya 6/Portra 160
At first glance, I thought the center building was a hoist house because of the shape of the window. Now I think this was built as a warehouse and later used as a laboratory.
Kansas is known for tornados. Think ‘Wizard of Oz’. That, considered with the fact that the workers were surrounded by bombs and bomb making materials called for lots of earthen shelters, just in case.
2013. A perfect summer day meets a beautiful old roundhouse on the edge of town.
Sidewalks to a boarded barracks, each making the other obsolete in the night.
The arches of the Twohy building, before some of the signs and sills were painted in 2015.
The wood block floor is beginning to sprout, but not much can live here.
You can almost make out the concrete chute through the open window. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
This building would store and maintain warheads. It was right next to the launch pad, but the two were separated by a high mound.
The left building is active, the right building is not, though both were built as Wilson Bros buildings. The skyway was rough, inside and out, but I liked the small gate in the bottom of it–it reminded me of a castle. Skyways like these were a fireproofing measure.
The depot at the head of town seems to be being disassembled. Behind it is a dead signal where the tracks used to be; they’ve been pulled.
When the bank burned, it was demolished except for the vault, which sits behind the depot.