As my friend Jonathan would say, “on a human scale.”
2004. Machine Shop Loft.
Would you wait and risk getting flooded out, or intentionally get minor burns?
Taking a midwinter hike in Cramer after a blizzard and ice storm was my idea. Do my friends seem upset to you?
Mamiya GA645 / Kodak Pro 400
Below the historic National Guard Armory.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been getting reports that several Yellow Helicopters have been seen hovering above town. We are all aware of the Black Helicopters, which are World Government, and Blue Helicopters, which are Secret Police, and the Helicopters with Detailed Murals of Diving Birds of Prey, which are the helicopters that took all the children in Night Vale away a few months ago (we still don’t know what those helicopters are but they did bring all the children back unharmed, and much more well-behaved than before, so they are deemed just as safe as the other helicopters) but these new Yellow Helicopters, no one quite knows.” – Welcome to Night Vale, Ep. 32
The conveyorway between the on-site grain elevator and mill.
…out of our depth.
The top of the headframe, and in a sense, the mine itself. This pulley carried the life line of the mine and the men in it.
The rumors were true. Success is sweet.
Ava between ammo warehouses and railroads.
Looking up at the arch–the symbol of the original Lyric.
Fall fog swept up from the river valley, making the building look more like it felt–a ghost, out of time and place.
Four A.M. was the best time to be on the main assembly line. This was about shortly after most of the machinery was removed.
Play on, Hunter. (Two keys worked on this thing.)
Prize Mine has been the victim of erosion. Its north wall is pushed in by rockfall and its south side is far from ground level.
Some of the earlier buildings were dressed up with brick facades.
A nice view of Hamilton from the roof of the theater.
Storms and waves, focused by the Port of Wisconsin entry have focused the faces to tear-up these boards below.
My friends know that redheads are my greatest weakness.
A long tunnel stretches toward the Mississippi. Was this the route Model Ts took on their way to waiting barges?
Shadows of the rusty trestle and cold control towers on the Barker. Workers are preparing to swing over the sides of the boat to help secure her to the Minnesota Power dock.
A gateway for St. Louis as seen through a gateway (of sorts) in East St. Louis.
The Algosteel crew strikes a pose while heading through Superior Entry toward Allouez
Two versions of Detroit. One where buildings stand tall and proud, and one where they wilt under the sun. It’s an amazing juxtaposition.
A comrade lights-up where so many workers apparently congregated to do the same.
David Aho, the owner of Mitchell Engine House, poses beside the boiler.
“Crunch, crunch, crunch,” said the ground. “I know,” I replied.
Colleen on the roof.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
How many buildings are in this pile of blocks? Not as many as there are piles, I can bet you.
Sarah in Miller Creek Drain.
Chris an his Nikon F2
The Wheeler Rec Center was very nice and included gymnasiums and a pool.
Hunter climbing up to the coal tower.
Hiking into the ghost town with enough gear to live there for a few days, if we wanted.
A self portrait, from the early 2000s.
Aaron by the concentrator.
David Aho pictured.
Jef throws open the back door of an alley for the trailing photographers and historians.
A panorama of the Shipping/Receiving building on the northeast end of the block. In the old days this would be facing the ‘Dry Dock Hotel’, a boarding house owned by the company, presumably for the use of the men having their boats repaired here.
Fall in line, act skinny, watch out for low hanging pipes. Don’t ask me where in the maze this was… 90% of the plant looked like this; vast rooms and catwalks with crisscrossing pipes and valves.
Frankie on the White Pine Mine vehicle access shaft. The mine was traditional inside… all room-and-pillar.
I wonder what this guy is thinking, walking through the complex.
A self portrait from more than a decade ago.
Even with a hundred people parked in front of the lakeside relic, it was invisible.
Kate in the crow’s next… very shaky by the time she got to it.
He had the knees of a stallion. RIP.
Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.
If you look close you can see a figure on the water tower.
Another. Planet. Coal crushers and the coke loading line.
This is the former air compressor house–one of them, at least–which turned steam power into air power to drive machinery across the production line.
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.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.
The old movie theatre sign was sitting right inside the sealed front doors.
Kate shooting the cascade of rotten boards and steel siding that is Chain O’ Mines’ gold mill. Leica/Summilux 35/Ektar 100
Frankie and Quarantine pictured.
Model: Ryan. On the second floor between wooden joists and massive, inert lighting is simply nothing but warped wood, stained with crane grease.
This roof hasn’t budged under the weight of snow, instead it just filters-through the light onto the floor.
The glow from the city is bright enough to read by.
Kate stands on top of the tailings pile that added some usable land to the side of the gulch. Somewhere nearby is the buried Santiago Tunnel.
Elsie finds her makeup brush across the hospital in the middle of the hallway. How did it get there?
From the summer a bunch of Australians visited Minnesota.
Like looking out of an airship.
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.
The tailings boom is the first and last thing you see when approaching the mountaintop shipwreck.
Often the quickest way to move between buildings was to take the roof. The inside of the complex was so maze-like, I don’t know how I would have found my way around.
We people are so small.
A small upper level was accessible via ladder through the hole in this ceiling. Ben for scale.
Kat’s pretty cool.
Not ghosts. Slow-moving explorers’ shadows create a ghostly effect in the ‘Old Ward’–the second floor of the Service Building.
Construction lights were still plugged in from the last inspection. Note the murals on the walls.
The building in the foreground–the old control booth–was arsoned in 2009.
A bridge crosses the main street of the village; one that goes nowhere. Ambiguity intended.
One of my favorite pictures of the tunnel. I am holding a bike rim and wearing a headlamp. My friend triggered the flash just behind my lower back. The fog is a temperature inversion at the entrance of the tunnel; it was 102 degrees outside of the tunnel and about 50 degrees inside, and humid.
Somewhere there was a hoe left on the ground. Given that we had read articles about photographers being mugged around the abandoned projects, we felt it wouldn’t hurt to carry this around. I am glad we did; it made a great musical drumstick against the warped Wheeler Rec Center floor.
Blondes und bricks!
I liked the color of her hair against the rusty rock house and blue winter sky.
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.
Now, to add a human scale.
On my first visit to the roundhouse, the control booth was extant.
Hip bump girl.
Kate for scale. Powder that passed the floatation level was flowed over sluice tables, another mass-based way of separating gold. I’ve never seen so many of these in one place. Though it was a hardrock mine, it worked more like a placer mine.
Rocket propellant and coolant were stored underground adjacent to the missile silo. This is the hallway that connects the missile area to the propellant area. Walking in this area was nice because the floor was dry.
Coming to an inspirational poster near you… what should it read? ADVENTURE AWAITS? Don’t hang posters. Go outside.
My favorite time to be in the brewery was sunrise. That’s the kind of light that made the brewhouse glow.
A social club/restaurant that was likely the place to be late at night.
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
Ava on an upper catwalk.
She liked to joke that she was my “tripod sherpa”.
The north side of the plant is modern 60s industrial architecture, meaning massive open spaces with no personality. This mirror is the most interesting thing I could find.
Raab strolling where the coal and ore would be dumped by trains that traveled along the top of the concrete pilings.
This old Jetta did more offroading than your average lifted tinted loud-exhaust pickup.
Mark, as seen from the back of one of the caves, to give the reader a sense of scale.
The Clipper was one of the most popular Packards, but its production was cut short by WWII. Had they produced the car instead of Rolls Royce plane engines I imagine there would might be driving a Packard today, rather than a Ford.
The most pointless, beautiful and nuclear-bomb-proof catwalk I’ve been on to date. It goes between two high levels in its own bottom-lit concrete capsule in the center of the tallest, thickest building. Hang on, we’re riding this one out.
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.
Where the drain changes shape from round concrete to arched brick.
These stairs were probably removed to discourage scrapping and graffiti. Ask me if it worked.
A view from the loft in the shipping/receiving building, where the crane operator would step into his cab.
At an abandoned train repair shop.
Standing on the ruins of the burned Northern Pacific RR Freight House. It’s the best place to watch ships move around the harbor. Some things haven’t changed…
Kate in the Atlas E, which is essentially a buried Atlas D. Above is the protective steel blast door.
“See anything?” “No, just more of it.” “How much to go?” “Oh god–we’ve only seen about 10%.” “Guess we should keep moving then…”
The approach to Dock 4 is long demolished, so it is only accessible when the lake freezes.
Looking from the shaft room into the room where an electric hoist would be.
New friends met at the exploring expo.
A self portrait on a tire swing outside the Service Building.
Looking into the Argo Tunnel at its Idaho Springs portal. I was hoping to see tracks and a steel door, but found a busy crew of environmental workers installing a pipe between the bulkhead and new water plant.
From the loftily perspective of the crane cab, I thought about how nice it would have been to have been here when there was equipment to share the space. This begs the question, who took out the equipment?
Devan setting up his 4×5 camera.
Do you like Hunter’s tattoo?
She’s a charmer.
A natural stone floor in Brewery Creek’s upper path has been worn smooth.
Ava near the Memorial Building. The block glass embedded in the sidewalk here is actually a skylight for the tunnel below, which connects the Memorial Building to the steam and supply systems of the hospital.
Hunter and the Hoist House.
There is a flipped tram car about a third of the way down the cliff.
Miller Creek, in one of the wider sections that features a trout (as in the fish) canal in the middle of the drain. Even though it is underground, the fish are able to visit their breeding ponds upstream by swimming through the specially designed tunnel.
Hand-shooting 4×5 underground. Must be Kate Hunter.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
Past the underground repair shop is this cliffside adit.
Will coming down “Darwin’s Ladder”.
Sherman’s history is better than mine. You should read it on Abandoned Online.
In the power house corner is this gratuitously gigantic doorway. It used to be even bigger, too, as indicated by the brick arch another foot over the top windows.
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