Taken before the Ford was towed to Duluth for scrapping.
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.
Chester Creek, where it was forced to dip below the circa-1970s I-35 tunnels.
The gauges on left of frame are the steam pressure indicators for the various steam-powered components around the ship, like the steering engine and windlass motors. Below the gauges are a case of tiny wooden parts drawers… note the ancient oiling can on the locker near the upper-right corner of the frame.
Inside the towering offices, Firestone-colored staircases connect senseless rows of wood-paneled offices.
The moon highlights the contrails over the engine house in the middle of the night. Foreground light painted.
On the other side of the hole through this wall was a printout with the Kool Aid Man on it.
At the bottom of the stairs to the caves is this collection of brick arches. I wonder what this area looks like now that a new tenant has taken over this building.
A storage vault for guns and other weapons to protect the base from attack.
Left: A medium storage chamber with access to an interconnecting steam tunnel at ceiling height. This room also has various smashed toilets. Why? Because dead toilets–all of them–always find a home in a cave. Center: Steps go past a +-intersection, left goes deeper, right goes to utility tunnels for the brewery, forward used to go to the brewery basement… it’s now backfilled. Left from the backfill is a small hallway; see ‘Backfill Self Portrait’. Center-Right: Utility tunnels tie knots between the brewery’s demolished basement and its caves. Right: Most of the storage volume is in large chambers down this causeway.
This is an elevator to move mine car loads of sand to the surface for cleaning and eventually glass production. Below is a flooded equipment vault. In front and behind is a loop through the larger tunnels in the mine. The horizontal braces supported electric cables for the mine carts.
This tunnel had a wooden drafter’s table in it.
There isn’t much left of the factory offices.
He had the knees of a stallion. RIP.
A light-painted portrait of one of the few remaining carts that moved everything from fresh eggs to soiled laundry through the tunnels.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
The basements of the barracks were often stone and brick, and many of them were connected by short tunnels.
Pointing a light at my camera from down Miller Creek Drain. Do you see the scale of it? It’s huge!
Standing on the fence barricade that used to keep squatters out of the tunnel, the size of the space is impressive. What you see here is the current length of the tunnel; I set up a flashlight at the end to illuminate the concrete wall that is the lower portal.
Without proper pressure, the steering engine was ineffective.
In the far back of the cellars there are some old bottles. This arch shows an old entrance to the cellars, now collapsed.
“What’s that diamond thingy on the Pilot House?” you ask? It’s a 1920s-era radio transmission direction finder, a pre-radar navigation aid. Lit with diffused flash.
Smashed TVs and stone foundations in a former common room in the basement.
One evening I spent an hour lighting tea candles through the tunnels below the elevator. It was a magical transformation.
Freezing groundwater in the drain has created this ice wall in Buckingham Creek Drain, which is nearly all blasted natural stone. Lit with several LED panels. It was a cold night.
One of two projectors, still set to run old 3D flicks.
The Engine House’s boiler, which would have been fired all day all day, virtually from the day the shop opened until the day it closed.
The first 800 or so feet of the tunnel is finished with reinforced concrete. The test is raw stone. This is the spot where it switches. Side note: nailing this shot on film is one of my proudest light-painted moments.
Hand-shooting 4×5 underground. Must be Kate Hunter.
A natural stone floor in Brewery Creek’s upper path has been worn smooth.
300 tea lights illuminate what Greg Brick calls the Rotunda, under the brew house proper, which was part of Christopher Stahlmann’s natural cave.
It’s a straight view from the projection booth to the stage, but hell of a walk. At a fast pace, I think it would take 10 minutes to walk from this spot to the chair. Behind the curtains is a big white screen, so the theatre could be used for either stagework or moving pictures. The two projectors are set up for 3D movies right now–hence the little switch below the window–a Polaroid 3D synchronizer. Cool, huh?
A long tunnel stretches toward the Mississippi. Was this the route Model Ts took on their way to waiting barges?
This picture is lit by a direct lightning strike of the building. It’s impossible to describe the feeling of being in this giant open building the moment it channeled an electric explosion into the earth.
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.
Light-painted to show off the beautiful radar equipment inside and Park Point across the bay.
An antique clothes dryer and sample inline 4 engine, the latter used as a training piece after WWII to retrain veterans.
Below the historic National Guard Armory.
Heavy steel doors to isolate the underground magnetic separation mill from Eagle Mine’s main tunnel.
The sterile room where yeast was grown for the fermentation process. Thanks much, my little alcohol-excreting buddies.
A back-lit tree with the silhouette of a roof spire in the background.
A typical shower in the old section of the hospital. It looks a little horrifying in the harsh light of a camera flash on the thousands of little white tiles. One soap holder hadn’t been stolen yet.
Sarah in Miller Creek Drain.
When the Mitchell project is complete, I’ll miss the textures on the face of the boiler.
A look at another “Belt-o-Vator”. I like the sign.
One of the underground creeks in Duluth, somewhere under the East Hillside neighborhood.