Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
The same view in 2007.
Superior, WI, some have said, is a suburb of Duluth, MN. It’s more like a sub-suburb, I would argue. It’s the industrial district that is technically in another state, one that sells beer on Sundays. Perspective is looking out of the mostly-disassembled larger (newer) elevator.
The main rail artery for Thunder Bay passes Ogilvie’s.
Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.
Easier-to-demolish parts of the power plant were torched apart. Catwalks to nowhere meant lots of dead ends.
There is a flipped tram car about a third of the way down the cliff.
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 people that stayed here carved bowls from the mesa itself to collect water.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
Squinting from the top floor through the skyway, one can feel small, like they’re in a heavy industrial dollhouse.
A washout two thirds of the way down the tram gave me a place to relax in the thin air.
Hales & Hunter sign, as it looks today.
A view from the loft in the shipping/receiving building, where the crane operator would step into his cab.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
Looking out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.
There’s no way an explorer, much less a choir, could stand here now. Since this picture was taken the roof has collapsed onto the loft.
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
A tight-winding wooden staircase leads to where the ropes are tied above the stage. I am standing next to the big old film speakers while taking this.
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
The women of the hospital made clothes for the other patients.
Looking out of the demolished skyway. Note the big hole in the floor. The lens is too wide to keep my foot out of it… I’m hanging in the superstructure that I climbed to make this photo.
At the top of the workhouse, dust collection pipes weave through cross-crossing conveyors.
A nice view of the aurora borealis (“Northern Lights”) strong enough to outshine the industrial lighting at the power plant. The lights in the foreground direct ships discharging coal for the station.
At an abandoned castle.
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 cupola air intakes, rattled loose by the demolition downstairs, hangs stranded on the second floor. You can see that the floor I’m standing on in this picture used to extend all the way to the right wall. The blue paint on the wall made the climb absolutely worth it.
The walkway to the end of the dock is elevated, so one walks above the trees and bushes growing in the rotting taconite pellets that have collected over the years.
A look straight down into the chutes were taconite pellets would dump into the dock hoppers. Rebar was a safety measure to keep workers from being buried alive, were they to slip into the holes.
Looking across the ruin-strewn brownfield left from ACME’s operation and demolition.
The mill itself is one giant room sectioned into levels–more catwalks than concrete. Here you can see the evaporators and have a sense for the miles and miles of pipes that zigzag through the plant.
The tops of the coke stoves.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
It seemed the only way to get a view of the room was to climb above the mounds of rotting donations, now not even fit to burn.
A panorama next to a long abandoned adit. The tram has seen better days.
I like to think of this as a giant straw, through which the factory is slowly draining the earth, leaving nothing but reinforced concrete below…
The gear seems to have fallen the height of the power station and shattered. I wonder what it sounded like…
On top of the light hoop, 160-feet up, a ship comes into port, ready to load-up. If you look really close, you can see my shadow cast on the dock below, courtesy of the full moon.
The building behind Daisy was demolished, leaving these tanks and a pointless conveyorway. Now it’s bricked (see over door near right corner of mill) and the tanks are exposed to the elements. There are a few holes in the area that have a healthy drop, so you should avoid the area.
The coke plant looked more natural through a grimy window.
A panorama of the dock buildings, before the left one was demolished.
This building stood on stilts until it was demolished. The top floor handled radio traffic to boats and trains. The bottom floor had locker rooms, records, and a lunchroom.
I never knew that all those elementary school balance bar exercises were for a very serious purpose: not falling to one’s death in the event they uncover lost Chicago history.
A broken signal light that would indicate to incoming engineers and brakemen the status of the dock deck. The streetlight-style lighting is a retrofit; originally the top of the dock would be lit by strings of lights suspended by towers on each side of the deck… a poor system according to the workers at Allouez who had the same lights.
Looking down the Gilman-Belden tram.
I am not sure what this machine does, but I have a hunch that it husks and cleans the sugar beets as they come into the plant. It is certainly the biggest single piece of equipment in any of the mills.
Looking toward Fort William (Western) Elevator from the top of Superior Elevator. Fort William is bordered on the south and east by this wide, winding railyard. Note the pretty and quaint brick offices of the Western.
One of my favorite images from my stay… Note the snowed-over road in the distance! This is looking toward Animas Forks.
Why the elevator cars were removed or who removed them is unclear to me, but I do hope they still exist somewhere outside of a Honda frame. Judging from the decorations heaped on the doors and their frames, the cars themselves must have been beautiful.
Transfer Elevator, Built 1916
HDR matrix panorama. Looking from the grain elevators, now doomed, toward the city between the flour mill’s water tower and tile elevator’s neon sign, the old and new economies seem almost united. Yet the financial centers rise in reality to shadow the now-abandoned industry and manufacturing. The way of things, I’m told.
Kat dancing down the trestle, which is one of the highest in the state, standing about 100 feet over the road. Mamiya 6/Portra 160
Looking through Workhouse A from the top of a silo.
Sunrise over Mill Hell, and all of Kurth’s various skyways. The elevators in the foreground date to the mid-1920s, Electric Steel is behind and is a little earlier than that.
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
In what Studebaker called the ‘Materials Building’ are these giant concrete bins of fine molding sand, there for casting metal parts using the molten metal from the adjoining building. On the far left side there is a train track and once upon a time a gantry crane traced the room under the roof
Looking up the Dominion Elevator’s tower. I especially like this picture because it shows how so much of the electrical conduits wound round through the mostly hollow space.
A crashed freight elevator.
When I looked out of the old mill, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was holding it all up.
The building is winking.
Broken skyways in the sand casting house, where everything was utterly fire-resistant.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.
Looking toward Duluth from the top of a Dock 1 light tower. NP Dock 1 is on the left… an earlier competitor to Allouez. The stars reflect on Lake Superior.
Rain and snow has gutted a third of the building. From the ground floor, I could see the sky in some places.
In the upper left of the image you can see where the gas tanks used to be, along with the concentration equipment. Along the bottom you can also see some of the many railroad tracks coming and going from the plant–the ones visible here were incoming tracks that carried in hard coal from the eastern US.
Looking between the asbestos house and mineral (lime) house.
Before it was demolished, there was one good staircase the led to the middle of the dock. Trees grew from it.
We can lie like sinners
Breathe the air like children
And you could lead and I could follow
All those times are gone
“Duluth” by Trampled by Turtles
Looking at the casting floor from the roof. In the distance are the copulas where molten metal was poured.
“But everyone I used to know was either dead or in prison
So I came back to Minneapolis this time I think I’m gonna stay” -Tom Waits
I had to climb into the roof of the half-demolished skyway to see through to the other side of the train shed. That’s my foot in the corner.
A wide view (15mm) of the shadow 4B is casting on 4A. Light leaks because of cheap camera.
See http://www.thecarriedeer.com/ for details.
The very top of the Administration Tower’s spiral staircase. There’s an old antenna of some kind there, as you can see.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
The glow from the city is bright enough to read by.
Now, to add a human scale.
The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
Scrappers infamously gutted the factory, but this one green conduit going from the sintering floor all the way to ground level seems to have been spared.
The ice around the dock, compressed by the waves, was less clear than the open ice.
Tucked-into the side of the concentration mill… these machines were meant to crush underground rock into a fine dust for mineral extraction.
At an abandoned mine railroad.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
The mill is one of the tallest buildings in the city. It’s too bad that the cupola with its big skylights and flagpole were removed.
Checking out the neighbors. Shot on a the legendary Pentax 67.
The annex casts a long shadow over its old headhouse and the former UGG (currently Vitera C) elevator. Arista 100.
A me-sized hole in the half-demolished skyway looks about a story down to the ground. Step lightly. Arista 100.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
From an unsteady perch atop the blast furnace, the morning light began to leach into the complex below.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
The Beeghley was launched in 1958… you can see it unloading limestone here with its retrofitted self-unloader. Update: This ship has been renamed the ‘James L. Oberstar’ after the Minnesota Senator. [Read more on Boardnerd.com here: http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/oberstar.htm]
From the door where mine carts were dumped into the Concentrator, the erosion around the former Santiago Tunnel on Treasure Mountain is obvious. The rails barely connect to the ground anymore.
At the top of the Head Frame, over the silo, a space is hollowed-out for ore cars to dump their load before going back underground in search of copper.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
It’s a small world… look at it.
Allouez had already suffered one major fire. It didn’t need another–especially under Dock 1’s wooden approach.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
A self portrait from more than a decade ago.