The shaft of Prize Mine in the abandoned building. Stay away!
At the end of a conveyor belt and poised over a loading station, it’s easy to image the tinny sound of chicken feed sliding across the metal. Like sand on the old-fashioned stainless steel playground slides.
The shaft was capped by the state in 1990. Even though some shafts are capped, they are still very dangerous. The land around them tends to crater unexpectedly, sending explorers to the bottom under a pile of dirt. Stay away.
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.
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.
Looking past the hoist room (left) toward Shaft No. 1, behind the concrete head frame built in the late 1940s. This shaft could haul equipment from ground level (below) to shop level, where the picture was taken.
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.
You can see almost ever level of the factory from this spot.
A me-sized hole in the half-demolished skyway looks about a story down to the ground. Step lightly. Arista 100.
Old conveyor belts are draped over the sides of the ore chutes to cut down on the noise and wear of the dumping trains.
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.
Look at the floor–do you see the hole? That goes down a lonnnnnng ways.
The women of the hospital made clothes for the other patients.
Sonnenstrahlen, “sunbeams”, come through the kicked-up coke dust covering everything below the sintering floor.
The end of the dock, done quickly and cheaply with wood. The towers were for lights, so ships could be loaded at all hours.
A screen above the floor apparently shields workers from the disintegrating building.
Holes were cut into the floor to extract equipment from the basements. it was interesting to see the I-beams extending through all the levels of Studebaker.
The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
It seems logical that, at one time, a rock crusher was installed at the base of the mine rails shown here at the top of the Concentrator. Rocks small enough to fit between the rails would automatically bypass the crusher and continue to the work floor via the hopper below.
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.
This picture is perhaps the most appropriate in its visual depiction of how unstable the mill was. 1. Note the lack of stairs on the spiral staircase; they’re rusted and twisted apart, not simply cut off. 2. Notice the cracked concrete on the lower left corner; that was cracking as I was standing on it taking this photo, and don’t think there’s anything under that to begin to stop one’s fall. 3. You’re looking into an open elevator shaft; its safety cage is sliced away and wide open.
These steam powered pumps were integral to the cooling of the meat packing plant next door.
It was interesting that, even though storms had carried the wooden walkway that stretched under the dock, these piles of spilled taconite remain where they had dropped.
The sexiest feature of Kurth is this steel arch over the silos on its south side. The manholes in the floor open to the silos directly, and flimsy grates might catch a hurried worker. Grates were removable so that workers could descend into the concrete tubes, so a few are missing today.
Old parts catalogs litter the floor. The office overlooks empty shelves. Graffiti glue peeling paint in place.
The great stenciled number on this chute caught my eye.
A hole straight to hell. Stay away!
A reminder to the manlift riders to get off the belt before they hit their heads on the ceiling. This is the top level of the headhouse, where dust collectors would extract most of the grain bits from the air to reduce risk of explosion.
One thing that made the Eagle Mine unique is the underground mill, left of this picture. As the rocks moved down the mill, they would be turned into finer and finer powder.
The holes were for men to poke reluctant ore with long poles, with the hope that a lucky jab would let the load slide down into the boat below. Now they’re just traps.
The balcony used to be beautiful, you say. I say, it still is.
Go on and jump in, if you want, there’s even a ladder to climb out.
The hole in the floor, I like to joke, is a not-so-sneaky trap for the photographers creeping to get a close-up of the amazing peeling paint. I somehow escaped this snare, however, to warn the rest… perhaps you.
The top of Dock 4 was too dangerous to explore, but this panorama gives you an idea of the view (and how rotten the wood was).
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.
It’s a small world… look at it.
The top of the docks are so rotten in places that you can see the lake through the boards. In the foreground you can see the controls for the chutes, which work on a clutch.
Easier-to-demolish parts of the power plant were torched apart. Catwalks to nowhere meant lots of dead ends.
On the second floor of the kettle building where corn mash was boiled, holes where tanks once sat were everywhere.
After climbing the elevator shaft to the illusive second level, a new pallet of colors were revealed.
The top of the annex was bare except for these holes into the silos below.
While it looks like ground level, everything here is one story above the actual earth.
The gear seems to have fallen the height of the power station and shattered. I wonder what it sounded like…
The floor was a bit too thin for my taste at the top of Superior Elevator. The left hole looks outside; the right hole looks down half a story to the level below.
Looking at the casting floor from the roof. In the distance are the copulas where molten metal was poured.
When I wasn’t paying enough attention on the rotten balcony, I accidentally put my foot through a rotten floorboard. I snapped a picture to remember the moment.