It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
The east side of the boiler shop sported a platform with a control booth and heavy machine mounts. Note the door that replaces the lower section of stairs for explorers.
Generations of Two Harbors teens smoked their first weed in this abandoned building, in my estimation. Comment if I’m right!
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
A chalkboard halfway to the headhouse is untouched since the mill closed. It still has the cheat sheets!
The flour mill (rear) and its elevators. The taller elevator was moved here in 1955, when the Harrisons bought it from Federal, who declared it surplus. The smaller elevator replaced an earlier smaller warehouse in 1926. Taken shortly after dawn. This one picture made the drive worth it, for me. Medium Format.
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.
The metallic arms of the missile erector, which would stand rockets over the blast pit in the launch position. Medium Format film–cheap but excellent Fomapan 100 in a Pentax 67.
The conveyorway between the on-site grain elevator and mill.
Looking toward the old power house, right below one of its arteries.
Watch your head, say the colors. This side of the plant is apparently still standing and is owned by the city.
Because painted signs would not hold up in this spot–in between four ovens that were literally hot enough to melt steel inside. Solution: Cut the pipe labels into the sheet metal. Seems to have worked.
The bricks routinely fell from the walls, like seeds falling from trees. On a smaller scale, new walls grew from the floors.
Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
One of the early automated painting booths in the paint plant line.
When it was convenient, the sugar company would pull equipment, even pipes, from one mill for another.
Without a conveyor belt, this tripper seems lost. The job of this machine was simply to take grains from the moving conveyor belt and eject it into the silos via the chutes on the sides. Note all the dust collection venting added to the machine to suck up any explosive grain dust.
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.
Across the walls of the brick repair shop, near where men and machine entered Shaft No. 3, vines, pipes, and graffiti battle unknowingly for visual prominence.
Looking across a skyway at the dust-collecting funnels, one of the few pieces of equipment that haven’t been completely decimated by time and the elements.
There are so many pipes i the factory–I wonder how many people knew where they all went, in the days these machines operated at capacity.
On the middle level of the Poacher House. For a detailed view of the chart see ‘See Reverse’.
The sound of water running in the distance.
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 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.
The end of the heating line allowed glass to cool slowly, and thus be stronger.
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”)
One level below where the cotton was nitrated, the fumes must have been powerful. This floor had several massive ventilation fans in its walls.
The bottom of the grain drier inside ADM-Delmar #1.
After crushing, these machines would float lighter material to the surface of the water, where it would be skimmed and discarded. Gold and silver laden stone would sink to the bottom, where it was collected for the next stage of processing. Leica/Summilux 35/Ektar 100
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.
Looking into the main workhouse from the skyway into the annex elevator. But who care? Look at the colors!
Chutes connect the bottoms of the silos to a conveyor belt.
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
On the second floor of the kettle building where corn mash was boiled, holes where tanks once sat were everywhere.
A great lakes freighter slowly passes SK Wheat Pool 4 with ‘The Sleeping Giant’ in the background. Arista 100.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
A natural stone floor in Brewery Creek’s upper path has been worn smooth.
In the upper left of the image you can see where the gas tanks used to be, along with the concentration equipment. Along the bottom you can also see some of the many railroad tracks coming and going from the plant–the ones visible here were incoming tracks that carried in hard coal from the eastern US.
SWP4-A on the left and Viterra C on the right in a 90-degree panorama.
Looking down the kiln line from atop the furnaces.
Blast Furnace 7 as seen from the ore yard. Imagine running up those stairs through blast furnace smoke.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
The wrought iron staircase for what was the Consumer’s Brewery Brew House, as indicated by very fine cast landings with the company logo. The staircase is in bad condition; someone had run a forklift or something similar into the bottom in addition to copious vandalism and water damage. Holes in the floor, like in the upper-right corner indicate where stainless steel kettles used to be before they were scrapped.
A wide view of the steam pump room, complete with pistons (taken apart for their brass), flywheels (covered in graffiti and rust) and pressure gauges (smashed apart for fun). I guess what I’m trying to say is, I was not disappointed.
In the nitrating house.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
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.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
The mostly-empty distilling room is easy to spot from the outside because of the distinctive round window.
Depending on the position of the valve, flour could be routed from the filtering process back into a mill.
Standing atop the dust collector, the factory breaks down into diverging patterns, processes.
A sign of where man met machine.
Workers would undoubtedly prefer to use the belt manlift on the right.
There were three main stockhouses, two of which still exist, that are filled with tanks like these in addition to Fermentation. Each tank is the size of the city bus and few are left after the 2008-2009 scrapings.
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
The newer tunnels were fitted with these fluorescent lights, although some skylights (block glass embedded in skywalks) let in some natural light during the day.
Looking out of Kurth Malt a the neighbors–the silos past Electric Steel are those of the Froedert Malt Company, now gone.
The elevator works on gravity… this is where a conveyor belt was to move the grain toward the main elevator to be loaded into ships.
This is a typical view of the factory; most of it was long hallways flanked by piles of equipment and access points to maintain them.
A ruined culvert near Oregon Creek, behind Old Main, the predecessor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Rows of offices under the power plant, which was in the middle of being demolished during my adventure. Despite the snow, this was meant as an interior.
What are we to do in an emergency?
So much relies on one thing stacked on top of another thing.
Steam pipes squirm around the stacks.
Chester Creek’s lower sections change, demarking decades of change for Superior Street.
This side of the mill, which abuts the Great Miami River, is much older than the other side of B Street. You can tell it went through many revisions.
In the middle of Electric Steel, dust collector vents cross-cross out of sight.
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.
Goop and slop slip to drop in the shame drain.
Looking up at the LEMP malting plant elevator. Look at that BRICKWORK!
The view from the larry, looking out at the overgrowing coke oven top. Papers listed the order of the charges for each oven, noting the sticky doors and persistent leaks. Emergency respirators and rescue gear was stored close, as long exposure to emissions from the rusty hatches could make worker pass out on the top of the ovens.
This is a great example of a combination rock house; the silos below used to fill trains with ore dropped from mine cars pulled to the top of the structure.
Halfway up the coal conveyor, covered in coal dust… black streaks of snot. Starting to get good.
The skylights with geared-to-open windows were massive and quite functional.
The only way to get to the second floor–since demolition crews punched-out the staircases and ladders leading upwards–was to climb this elevator shaft. In the lower-left corner is a blower for the foundry furnaces.
As photographed from a cement piling for Slip #3 poured in 1935, disconnected from land by erosion. How do I know the date? A pair of steamship engineers carved their initials and ranks into the wet cement!
ADM-Delmar #1- Maintainance Department. The stainless steel bits are part of the grain dryer added in the 1940s. The workhouse itself (the larger tower) was a dedicated Cleaning House, meaning that grain passed through both these buildings to be rid of dust, dirt and extra moisture before storage. In the foreground is the old ADM locker room and pipe department.
A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.
These copulas made the iron for casting.
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.
The four buildings seen here comprise almost all of the notable remaining structures.
These tubes would bring cement to the top of the plant for storage in the silos.
Looking up the Dominion Elevator’s tower. I especially like this picture because it shows how so much of the electrical conduits wound round through the mostly hollow space.
The superstructure for the sea-leg skyways serves no purpose now… the offices are bricked up, too. Why?
A side view of the floatation level. I found it interesting that there were little ladders and staircases in the mill to help workers get around–this place was not as shoddy as other mills I’ve seen.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
The basement of the asylum was a strange place. Take, this fireplace, for instance, in an otherwise barren room. Random cinderblock (left) has created a little room behind the fireplace. To round out the strangeness, a toilet was plumbed into the middle of the space. Note the stone foundations.
The huge snowfalls of 2011 brought new collapses across the buildings.
Looking into the tunnel system from below the Women’s Ward. The tunnels were used mostly by staff to move food and laundry.
Water vapor was collected and condensed to be reused in other processes. Kodak Tri-X 400/Leica M7
The powerhouse was notably older than the rest of the complex. I’m still not sure if it was build just for the cooperage, or whether it preceded it.
Sunset through a stained window in the headhouse made the floor feel like a heavy industrial Disney movie.
The factory was utterly vertical.
A lime auger and massive feet of the lime hopper.
The final ball mill in the Chain O’ Mines concentrator. Behind it was a bucket of steel balls.
Dirty filters for some equipment hang, awaiting a purpose.
This volume gauge could be read from 30 feet away, which is useful when the control panels and valves are that far away.
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.
After a short rainfall douses the mill in downtown Fergus Falls, the river next to the brick walls swells and the sounds of water overtakes the echos of the nearby bars. Reflections are on the foundation of the former distribution and rail building.
These stairs connected some small main-level offices with one of the main sewing rooms above. Because the roof on this building was strong, it was pretty well preserved–look at those colors. Through the open fire door on the left, though, you can see that the roof has given out.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.
Some warnings on the older battery which was visibly older than its eastern counterpart. This set of batteries had no railing between the side of the ovens and a long drop onto railroad tracks… I like this picture because it shows the effects of the heat and corrosive gasses on the area around the ovens.
I did not take the escape ladder to the surface, but I am told it pops up in the middle of a hill next to the missile silo doors.
The Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
Cauterized wounds on the factory floor, where the middle of the newer mill opens up to allow massive equipment. Now the pipes are cut and the equipment is gone.
This drying house was full of ventilation ducts, broken scales, and insulated carts to haul powder around the line.
Fermenters and mixing tanks fill this brewing room. The lighting is all natural, and is partially owed to a crumbling wall letting the sunset blast the interior in almost perfect profile.
At the top of the workhouse, dust collection pipes weave through cross-crossing conveyors.
When boiling beet juice accidentally spills from the gas-fired tanks two feet away, you better be wearing some of these, or bye-bye legs.
Easier-to-demolish parts of the power plant were torched apart. Catwalks to nowhere meant lots of dead ends.
Chester Creek, where it was forced to dip below the circa-1970s I-35 tunnels.
This picture shows the challenges of moving around underground in the base.
While walking out I snapped this last shot of the sunset drenching the castle-top watertower (staying with the theme), right before the sun dipped below the hill across the stream from which the whiskey was distilled.
This is what it might have looked like if a new Ford descended in the elevator with its headlights on. As seen from the Mississippi side–the opposite portal faces the sand mine.
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.
I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
The top floor of the Dominion Elevator. Acros 100 on 120.
The light next to this acid tank was perfect, thanks to a gaping hole in the roof.
Tunnels interconnected all of the complex, carrying power, steam, laundry and food throughout the hospital. This is a typical causeway that would have been very busy when the hospital was operating. In some places, signs still point to defunct areas of the hospital.
A porcelain basin in the locker room is detached, but shows excellent patina. I hope when the machine shop is repurposed that this can be saved.
In the steam plant, steam pipes bundled in canvas and asbestos criss-cross the walls.
Either the company was pulling parts from this evaporator to use as parts for other plants, or the last thing the workers did was to get this machine ready for the next campaign. Either way, plans changed.
The guts of the dock are connected with a long narrow hallway. Below this section are shops and labs.
To run new gutters through the building, some of the plaster walls of the Chateau had to be smashed through.
C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
One of the only remaining pieces of equipment in the distilling room is this green control panel on a bridge suspended in the middle of it all.
This floor of the workhouse had corkscrew conveyors–big augers–in the floor to move material around. Most of the walls that were metal were missing, leaving the concrete structure and open doors.
One of my favorite shots of the headhouse at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4, with one seagull threading the needle. The socket holes on the frame got blown out thanks to my bad developing, but I like the effect. Arista 100.
A caustic tank in one of the unremodeled brewhouse backrooms.
Some parts of the doctor’s apartment in the Administration Tower were decidedly upscale. Look at the beautiful ironwork on that sink!
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
Spots of yellow gravel mark gold mines with nothing left on the surface. Is this one of the drainage pipes?
Standing next to the now-demolished records room.
This giant gear’s sole purpose was to turn the ship’s single rudder in all conditions.
The middle section of the smokestacks were coal hoppers, and this device would load the coal into the hoppers from the conveyor belt it rode across. The bottom section of the stacks were storage rooms while the very top were, surprise, chimneys for the power plant.
The giant radiators in this casting shop look like a flag to me.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
Water at the bottom of the silo was perfectly clear.
The boiler room has four big boilers in it, which seems like overkill. No wonder this plant could supply power to the works and the town at full capacity!
The head distiller could walk out of their office to this balcony and overlook the whole fermentation process in a glance.
These steam powered pumps were integral to the cooling of the meat packing plant next door.
Brewery Creek Waterfall, somewhere above Duluth. Lit with candles and a small LED panel. To me, it looked like a pipe pouring molten metal.
A side view of the oven pusher from the ground. The tallest coal bunker looks tiny in the distance, though on the scale of the factory it’s practically on top of me as I’m taking the picture.
Paint lines were constantly monitored through big windows. Adjustments could be made on the dedicated consoles. This is what most of the painting floor looked like.
Chester Creek takes many such sliding dives where it empties into Lake Superior.
The generator hall of the last power station, as seen from the gantryway.
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
Pipes to channel nitrose (think nitro glycerine) infused acid through the building.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
Steam pipes snake up the walls like vines, but with asbestos.
Look at the floor–do you see the hole? That goes down a lonnnnnng ways.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
Observing War City in the midst of an electric storm. This photo is lit almost entirely by lightning.
The only door into a large windowless concrete room, probably a storage bin. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
A century-old ghost sign for Royal House Flour was preserved after a building is built above and through it! Looking from the north annex elevator toward the headhouse.
The power plant of the Old Crow distillery was mostly original. I didn’t have a tripod, so I had to balance my camera on the equipment there.
Because of the dangers of storing the materials to make explosives as well as the explosives themselves, there were earthen bunkers all across the plant like this.
The front door to the auditorium.
The sun was setting outside, highlighting the textures and lines that made the form of the power plant take a fourth dimension–time.
Gloves hang in the basement of the former quality assurance labs.
Without a roof, the bricks were being washed away in the later years of the roundhouse.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
Not ghosts. Slow-moving explorers’ shadows create a ghostly effect in the ‘Old Ward’–the second floor of the Service Building.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
One of the cupola air intakes, rattled loose by the demolition downstairs, hangs stranded on the second floor. You can see that the floor I’m standing on in this picture used to extend all the way to the right wall. The blue paint on the wall made the climb absolutely worth it.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
The boiler doors are beautiful, and feature the name of the smelter and mine company. If you like these, check my article on the Mitchell Yards of Hibbing, MN.
In what has turned into a kind of industrial courtyard between four ovens some people have posted their tags. X was here.
2010. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
A machine to cast copper billets.
Filters and fans to draw air into the boilers in the second power plant.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
One of the older buildings on the site, this is an old power house that provided electricity to the plant. I spent some time walking around it and believe it was fired with coal gas but had a diesel backup installed later.
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.
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.
Looking from one workhouse at another, with the other residents of Mill Hell falling into place as the distance grows. Across the rail yard you can see Froedert Malt elevator and Calumet.
The sun sets in front of a huge concrete building—about four times the size of the power plant. Probably a corn storage bin from an ethanol operation that ran here in the 1980s.
Part of the system below Dock 2.
A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.
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.
No wonder the factory shut down; everyone was scheduled to work 9 to 5 and the clock’s broken! (In all seriousness, this is/used to be a beautiful timepiece, especially for a utilitarian factory like this.
After climbing the elevator shaft to the illusive second level, a new pallet of colors were revealed.
A gateway for St. Louis as seen through a gateway (of sorts) in East St. Louis.
Bits and things in a pile in the corner of the smelter, the unsold chunks of industrial history that didn’t sell at an on-site auction before my visit.
A light-painted portrait of one of the few remaining carts that moved everything from fresh eggs to soiled laundry through the tunnels.
2005. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded machines.
The bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
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.