heights

Down the Boom

Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.

Superior’s Sub-Suburban Sprawl

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.

New Elevator

The main rail artery for Thunder Bay passes Ogilvie’s.

Crank on Dock 4

Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.

Half Demolished Boilers

Easier-to-demolish parts of the power plant were torched apart. Catwalks to nowhere meant lots of dead ends.

Brach’s Interior Corridor

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.

Water Bowl

The people that stayed here carved bowls from the mesa itself to collect water.

Scuttled Skyway

Squinting from the top floor through the skyway, one can feel small, like they’re in a heavy industrial dollhouse.

Right of Way

A washout two thirds of the way down the tram gave me a place to relax in the thin air.

Paradies

Looking out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.

Choir Loft

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.

New Palace Stairs

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.

Pilothouse

The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.

Dress Forms

The women of the hospital made clothes for the other patients.

Demolished Skyway (Arista 35mm film)

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.

Workhouse Pipes

At the top of the workhouse, dust collection pipes weave through cross-crossing conveyors.

Industry + Aurora

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.

Drop-Dead Hoist-House

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.

Hanging Duct

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.

English Garden

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.

Rebar Fall Guards

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.

Brownfield

Looking across the ruin-strewn brownfield left from ACME’s operation and demolition.

Catwalks

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.

Snaking Stack

A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.

Tube Sky

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…

Broken Cog

The gear seems to have fallen the height of the power station and shattered. I wonder what it sounded like…

Ship at Allouez I

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.

Daisy Mill from Tanks

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.

Dispatch and Locker Rooms

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.

Cracked Glass Signal – (C)SUBSTREET

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.

Beet Cleaner

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.

Fort William Elevator

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.

Elevator Shaft

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.

Two Economies

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.

The Chief Lady

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

Kurth Malting- Mill City Fork

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.

18 Pound Steam

“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”

Ampersand

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

Dominion- The Long Way Up

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.

Foundry Hallway

Broken skyways in the sand casting house, where everything was utterly fire-resistant.

Big Dipper and Duluth

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.

Looking Up

Rain and snow has gutted a third of the building. From the ground floor, I could see the sky in some places.

Made Indy

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.

Dock Stairs

Before it was demolished, there was one good staircase the led to the middle of the dock. Trees grew from it.

Roof Hatch

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

Foundry Dripmarks

Looking at the casting floor from the roof. In the distance are the copulas where molten metal was poured.

Stay Glassy Minneapolis

“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

SWP4- Sealeg (Arista 100)

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.

Top of the Spiral

The very top of the Administration Tower’s spiral staircase. There’s an old antenna of some kind there, as you can see.

Skyway

The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.

Kabelkanal

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.

Ball and Rod Mills

Tucked-into the side of the concentration mill… these machines were meant to crush underground rock into a fine dust for mineral extraction.

Carrie Tower

Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.

Cupula-less Rooftop

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.

SWP4- Hole (Arista 100)

A me-sized hole in the half-demolished skyway looks about a story down to the ground. Step lightly. Arista 100.

Blast Smelter View

From an unsteady perch atop the blast furnace, the morning light began to leach into the complex below.

American Crane

A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.

Charles M Beeghly

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]

Broken Rock House Rails-(C)SUSBTREET.org

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.

Ore Skip

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.

Asbestos Alley

This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.

No Smoking, Wooden Sign

Allouez had already suffered one major fire. It didn’t need another–especially under Dock 1’s wooden approach.

Broken Dust Pipe

It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.