The corners of these buildings are inscribed by a century of bored rail workers and delivery drivers. Pictured is the southeast corner of the Twohy, which is typical of mercantiles.
Moon of M.R. ‘1985. Brick Graffiti Series.
Asbestos rope isn’t something you can buy at Home Depot anymore, but it’s fire and heat resistant stuff; great for industrial work, like in a sugar mill.
I am not sure what caused the discoloration, but two of the walls near the door to the machine shop are stained yellow-red. I assume this had to do with the walls in relation to blowing piles of iron ore, and that the walls have been partly infused with iron oxide. Any other ideas?
This wide skyway connected two of the inner factory buildings, where parts would have to be transported to keep the operation moving, which is why it is much wider than other bridges in the plant.
A little sheet metal box somehow made it back home.
Part of a vintage neon sign. I hope it’s been preserved–it reminds me of the sign that hung over my grandfather’s tv sales and repair shop in small town Minnesota.
Whoever did this: good job. You get it.
The machine stood the Atlas missile up vertically over the blast pit, launching position, once the roof opened.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
Two charmers, I’m sure. This area was a coal pit for the nearby power plant.
Looking down the walkway that traces the bottom side of the ore dock.
A US Army Corps of Engineers tug, tied at the end of the pier before the American Victory was parked here.
A side door for the brick factory.
Looking out of a door to nowhere at the fiery sky above.
This is a 1956 furnace. It was used to forge wheels, casings, and parts for the axel shop.
Latscher. Brick Graffiti Series.
A flooded assembly line.
The man behind the curtain watches, but doesn’t say anything. Probably the smartest one in the room.
This bay would host boxcars as workers would fill them with the fruits of the factory.
Goop and slop slip to drop in the shame drain.
Lacy hated playing for people. She wanted to make the piano speak back to her, not make people stare.
A tunnel that brought heat from the power plant to the Hart House. Since that building was demolished, this only served as a fallout shelter. To my knowledge, this was never used to move bodies to the incinerator. That was probably done with a vehicle and the lower entrance to the power station, which did dispose of TB victims for some time.
The final ball mill in the Chain O’ Mines concentrator. Behind it was a bucket of steel balls.
The bottom of the elevator which seemed too modern for the building. The top of the elevator opens into open air, as the second floor has long since collapsed.
I wonder how sheltered workers on this mid-level catwalk that follows the ore chutes is in storms. Note the chunks of concrete stuck in the catwalk grates–the pockets (right) are falling apart.
Don Crist ’83. Brick Graffiti Series.
A dead belt-o-vator.
Some small candles light one of the few surviving tunnels that once linked buildings on the campus with the steam plant. In winter, it was common for patients to be transported through these to avoid the cold, and during the Cold War these served as nuclear fallout shelters.
Looking out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.
Moon of M.R. 5-22-1985. Brick Graffiti Series.
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.
One level below where the cotton was nitrated, the fumes must have been powerful. This floor had several massive ventilation fans in its walls.
In this photo you see three lives of Lyric: 1.) The Art Deco murals showing the Vaudeville background; 2.) The suspended ceiling put in when the building was converted for film; 3.) The explorers, photographers and others who worked in and on the building before its final demolition.
Looking toward downtown, one is reminded that when Stahlmann built here in 1855 that it was on the very edge of the city.
This tunnel had a wooden drafter’s table in it.
Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.
A twin-engine crew pushes full taconite cars onto Dock 6.
A closeup of a soon-to-be-scrapped crane pulley.
Although the caves deviated little in their year-round temperature, it was common to use blocks of ice to cool beer immediately before shipment. This is the ruins of the ice chute.
A heavy cloth separates the sanding station from other areas. This particular section seemed to specialize with chair seats, judging by the many unsanded blanks there.
Looking up from the ground floor at the various levels of the sugar mill.
The hoist signal dangling beside the modern mine shaft would ring a bell next to the giant electric motors that would send the men and machinery into the underground.
On the outside of the steel silos and headhouse is a riveted bulge that does not look like the silos. Inside is this elevator, a rudimentary (read: dangerous) and old (read: dangerous) freight elevator.
The two exhaust vents coming out from the boilers en route to the stacks. Plywood marks where where catwalks were removed to extract equipment.
The bits with handles are the filters with screens of different sizes. Larger grain particles would be stopped at the top for further reduction via the mills, while the powder at the bottom would be run through another bolter–one of the refinement stages in flour production.
” JN 2-27-39″. Brick Graffiti Series.
In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.
This tunnel goes to the adit over the Eagle River Mills. I bet those carts go fast down here!
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
Science Alert. When the sun strikes an object, that object absorbs some of the infared light in the form of heat. The heat absorbed by the old Soo dock absorbed and radiated that energy to melt off the snow from the ice around it, making it very reflective.
I loved to spend time in the Hamm’s caves in my teen years. It was cold, wet, but it felt familiar and had its share of surprises.