The former BESCO building in the last light of day.
A photo from my first trip, although very little has changed in this area of the building except for the level of graffiti. I love skylights, don’t you?
What looks to be a skip for repairing the dock, in the concrete steeple.
A circular common room in one of the original parts of the hospital. When the asylum was especially crowded, this would be filled with patient beds, too. It’s very strange that this floor was not tiled like the other common rooms. It makes me wonder if especially dangerous patients were kept in this ward; those who could not be trusted to not extract and sharpen the ceramic tiles. Portra 160.
Between the ice chute and the back of the north section of the cellars, a little pillar shows where a room used to be. The ceiling’s disintegration has since filled the space, which seems to be the last point of expansion in the cave–this was last carved in the mid-1840s.
The underside of the dock seemed almost like a cathedral to industry with vaulted ceilings.
A shipment board for customers that may or may not exist anymore. Let’s assume any of the products made here are probably on backorder.
And I forget just why I taste / Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile / I found it hard, it’s hard to find / Oh well, whatever, never mind (Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”)
Hand painted fire extinguisher notices and a long room which I strongly suspect was a pattern cutting room.
The roof of the elevator was partly lit naturally with six big skylights. The less electricity pumped into a grain elevator, the less chance of a grain dust explosion.
This is one of the biggest warps I’ve ever found in a wooden factory floor hasn’t broken yet. When you stand on it, it make a very loud popping sound as the boards shift. The poster on the pillar near the left side of the frame advertises recreational boating, presumably to the factory workers who left this floor in the early 1980s.
A matrix panorama of the brewhouse staircase, post-scrapping. So pretty…
One of the paper warehouses, with snow blowing across the floors.
The offices, cleared out pending fire inspection. Now it’s full of stuff again.
On the scale of the big machine shop, the huge piles of clothing look insignificant.
When I see this picture, I imagine that I am an ant exploring a mushroom farm.
A pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
One thing I like to do at Gopher is imagine the shape of the planned buildings based on the partial structures.
Sliding curtains gave a little privacy to the residents of this room, which looked and felt more medicinal than most of the other multi-patient rooms.
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
This part of the roundhouse was being brought down by rain and gravity.
The porcelain hoops guided the silk threads through the device.
Fire buckets did not have flat bottoms so they could never be used for other buckety tasks, and were thus always handy in an actual fire.
Mushroom pillars hold up the dreams of so many, the profits of so few.
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.
I really liked the bulky pillars on this outer-ring cottage.
While the last of the Studebaker production buildings were being demolished, I visited again. Here’s a shot taken shortly after the demolition crew left for the day.
Island Station, in the middle of the power house, in the middle of a thunder storm. Flapping pipe covers and sheets of ran penetrating one massive arched window and blasting through the other, as winds power through the building from the Mississippi. The sound of the thunder made every length of steel squeak under the pressure.
The new dining room is still set up for the Twelve Step meetings that took place here a few years ago.
Windows provided the 250-some workers with fresh air and light, and helped to keep flour dust from building up in the air, helping to prevent explosions. Today, machines control air flow better without windows, so they were bricked.
A 180-degree panorama of the first floor of the refectory. I just loved the colors; there’s something about plaster walls that retain the character of a building; they crumble when they die, which is much more graceful than drywall, which drips down into a stinking puddle that looks and smells like a blob of Elmer’s glue.
The top floor of the condemned Russell Miller mill “B”, which would have housed sets of powerful electric motors to power the plant’s dust collectors and grain purifiers.
This roof hasn’t budged under the weight of snow, instead it just filters-through the light onto the floor.
A color study of the rotting donated clothes in the former GB&S Machine Shop.
Every timber pillar was numbered for maintenance purposes.
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
A late look at the brewhouse, long after the stainless steel tanks were scrapped.
Note the pit is filled in here.
My friends know that redheads are my greatest weakness.
In the many-windowed metal building, the lumberyard buildings and the abandoned starch works buildings are separated by a thick wall of pallets.
The head distiller could walk out of their office to this balcony and overlook the whole fermentation process in a glance.
Those able to work would be compelled to help fix up the facility, grow, harvest, and prepare food for fellow ‘inmates’, or work on vocational skills.
This building has since collapsed.
Looking up the rock house.
Standing atop the dust collector, the factory breaks down into diverging patterns, processes.
The shaft of Prize Mine in the abandoned building. Stay away!
You can see almost ever level of the factory from this spot.
A leftover swatch remembers the last fabric sewn here.
This is the building where the corn mash would be boiled in stainless steel kettles, now gone.
The crumbling building barely contained the colors inside of it.
The office for the maintenance shop was sound-insulated and ventilated.
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.
Since this picture was taken, the roof has totally collapsed in this area.
This building was responsible for storing and drying the barrels. Compare right.
The small door leads to the offices, the large door leads to the shop. My back at this time is to the corrugated steel wall. At the time I wondered why there was just one steel wall, not knowing that 40 years before there was another spot for an engine here. This section of the roundhouse has become a sort of town dump–car seats, cans of paint and tires are piled into its corners.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
Coded writing on a pillar in one of the assembly buildings.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
I wonder when fluorescent lighting was added.
The chalkboard in the filtering plant reminds new visitors of the last day.
Behind the grand staircase is this beautifully preserved hallway with medieval-style arches and vivid paint.
In its last years, the church had a congregation of only about 100. It opened with 1.700…
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
Taken in the last few minutes of the day. You can tell by the way that the wall is deteriorating that the windows using to have an arched top!
2005. Looking at the brewhouse from the top of the staircase the goes to the tunnels.
Holes in the roof lead to holes in the plaster and finally holes in the floor. That’s not what gutted the God from this altar, though.
Above the offices is this little section of factory that still has strips of wood flooring. This may be where the upholstery was cut.
The end of the monorail in the nitrating house.
Part of the Laundry Building with an ugly archway between rooms. Note that even this building had a nurse’s station with shatterproof windows. Laundry was done by supervised patients as part of their Occupational Therapy and the staff took no chances.
Graffiti by a crew member of the Algolake.
The buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
Some of the ruins are way off the beaten path… foundations of tank stands and pillars of buildings that never had walls or roofs.
That floor isn’t dirt–it’s old rotting grain that’s formed into a sort of moldy mud.
This used to be the main entrance of The Orpheum, before Orpheum Garage on Superior Street was converted into a new entrance.
Pillars painted red indicated firefighting supplies. Fire was a very common enemy of early rail facilities, and many roundhouses burned down because of a combination of dry wood, hot, fire-breathing machinery and countless oil-saturated surfaces.
The underside of the ore dock in winter. Snow drifts across the dock from the frozen lake.
This section of the production floor was constantly dripping. Someone had laid down giant plastic sheeting to attempt to protect the lower floors, but it hasn’t worked.
Model: Ryan. On the second floor between wooden joists and massive, inert lighting is simply nothing but warped wood, stained with crane grease.
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.
Looking at the casting floor from the roof. In the distance are the copulas where molten metal was poured.
The entry point for the painting shed on the top floor. Cars would have a few feet in between them before they entered. Separate sheds would prime and add color.
At the top of the elevator was a distribution room to direct the grain onto conveyor belts below.
All of the bucket conveyors crashed on this work floor when their casings were scrapped. Note all of the valves to open the grain flow.
Standing between pockets 1 and 2. You brought hearing protection, right?
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.
For reasons unknown, this building’s concrete was designed a little thinly. It reminds me of a Chicago, IL building constructed during WWI when concrete and steel were strictly rationed and many buildings went up with insufficient superstructures. I do not have a build date for this one yet.
A high-ceilinged room where kegs would be delivered for cleaning, before they were refilled with fresh booze.
An exit from the concourse.
The world’s biggest paper machine was installed here about a century before this photo was taken. The orange in the windows is the brick building across the street–the new part of the plant.
Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
Between the room with mold sand and the space where the car’s metal bits would be put together, a pillar is marked as structurally vital.
In the Lime House, the sunset picked-up the last light of day to make this image. Lime is used in the beet sugar refinement process to reduce the acidity of the beet juice mixture.
Two versions of Detroit. One where buildings stand tall and proud, and one where they wilt under the sun. It’s an amazing juxtaposition.
Designed by Taylor himself, the spring house was the site of many parties in its day. You can imagine sipping fresh-tapped whiskey here with your Sunday clothes with soft music and the sounds of the river mixing in the background. Note the key-hole-shaped spring hole.
This gives a sense of the scale and the water damage of the old side (brick, rather than concrete) of the roundhouse.
Below the factory floor is a network of hallways and tunnels, all flooded with water.
A number of skyways carried the production line across roads and railroad tracks in and around the plant. An identical skyway to this one was cut off sometime in the past decade (judging by the rust), probably for its steel.
Watch your head, say the colors. This side of the plant is apparently still standing and is owned by the city.
A multi-family home with an attic bedroom. The staircase was unstable, to say the least.
The spiral staircase ends in the basement, where two oil tanks (for the lantern) and a freshwater tank (for the Keeper) were stored. The basement consists of two long arched vaults like this.
Pillars among trees… those who inherit the earth will be so confused.
The cold air collided with the sun-warmed water on the floor, filling the ground floor of the Keg House with thick fog…
A typical stretch of the assembly line.
This is one of the rooms near Shaft 1 that was converted to be a Dry Room, where workers would wash and change between shifts.
I found a historical photo of this room showing 10-foot high machines with wires hanging by the mile from looms and schematic charts.
At sunset the light skips from puddle to stagnant puddle across the whole foundry room, playing with the classic sawtooth roof with half-hearted shadows.
After climbing the elevator shaft to the illusive second level, a new pallet of colors were revealed.
The sluice room was surrounded in fine grating. The company would want to finely control when the doors would be opened so the gold could be removed under supervision. No yellow bonus for the working man…
We people are so small.
A mix of brick and stone construction where the stock house meets the cellars. The caves brought well water to the brewery and drained the refuse away, and the various sewer connections are visible here and tell the story of the company’s expansion above.
“GREETING FROM BEAUTIFUL GARY–WISH YOU WERE HERE!” My postcard shot.
The sound of water running in the distance.
An abandoned news stand between the concourse and ticket booths. This is one of my favorite pictures from the 2000s.
When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.
This might have been part of the Pioneer Pellet Plant. It looks to be a ball mill, which pulverizes ore by spinning it with thousands of ball bearings.
Before there was a row of double rooms on the left and a common room on the right. Now, in a way, it is all one big common room.
S&X seen in the background through the fog.
90% of Brach’s looks like this. Concrete walls, mushroom pillars, and water over the floor.
The scale of the grain hoppers helps tell the story of how large Hamm’s was in its day.
Storms and waves, focused by the Port of Wisconsin entry have focused the faces to tear-up these boards below.
On the top floor of one of the old wards, the slanted roofline makes the this group room more claustrophobic. Portra 160.
The wings of the church had a lot more water damage than the rest. The organ on the balcony was in decent condition when I arrived.
This building is now being used to grow fish.
I made this picture to give the reader a sense of the slope between the mine buildings and the base of the concentrator. The whole area was really steep, and sometimes required scrambling to get up and down the Picayune Gulch for short distances.