Heavy steel doors to isolate the underground magnetic separation mill from Eagle Mine’s main tunnel.
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.
Chester Creek, where it was forced to dip below the circa-1970s I-35 tunnels.
Depending on the position of the valve, flour could be routed from the filtering process back into a mill.
Brewery Creek Waterfall, somewhere above Duluth. Lit with candles and a small LED panel. To me, it looked like a pipe pouring molten metal.
Not ghosts. Slow-moving explorers’ shadows create a ghostly effect in the ‘Old Ward’–the second floor of the Service Building.
Much of the signage in the mill was hand-drawn.
Pipes to channel nitrose (think nitro glycerine) infused acid through the building.
Jet Lowe is my inspiration.
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 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.
Looking up at the network of elevators at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Its train shed doors stand open under the void where conveyors should be. You can see where they used to connect on the left and right. The outside of the building is covered in racist graffiti.
2010. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
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.
This sawtooth roof collapsed months later under the weight of an early snow.
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.
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.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
A facade that tells the story of demolition and neglect. The sign on the garage door indicates that if one finds themselves there, that they enter the buildings at their own risk. If only property owners in the US took this philosophy!
A ruined culvert near Oregon Creek, behind Old Main, the predecessor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
Halfway up the coal conveyor, covered in coal dust… black streaks of snot. Starting to get good.
Look at the floor–do you see the hole? That goes down a lonnnnnng ways.
A light-painted portrait of one of the few remaining carts that moved everything from fresh eggs to soiled laundry through the tunnels.
Steam pipes squirm around the stacks.
Looking up from the ground floor at the various levels of the sugar mill.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.
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.
In the nitrating house.
Looking up from the industrial courtyard.
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.
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!
On the upper floors where the sunlight is yellow–the color of flour dust, once exposed to the elements.
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded machines.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
Under the monster and its teeth.
2005. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
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.
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.
These steam powered pumps were integral to the cooling of the meat packing plant next door.
If there were no other options, operators could climb this ladder from the Communications Room to the surface, after opening two heavy steel hatches, of course.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
Gold, which has a relatively high mass, would drop through the slats of the sluice boxes as the water flowed over them. Around the dredge were a half dozen radiator pipes to keep the water flowing through the machines.
The guts of the dock are connected with a long narrow hallway. Below this section are shops and labs.
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.
Generations of Two Harbors teens smoked their first weed in this abandoned building, in my estimation. Comment if I’m right!
In what has turned into a kind of industrial courtyard between four ovens some people have posted their tags. X was here.
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.
What are we to do in an emergency?
The sound of water running in the distance.
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.
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.
At the top of the workhouse, dust collection pipes weave through cross-crossing conveyors.
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.
When it was convenient, the sugar company would pull equipment, even pipes, from one mill for another.
One of the early automated painting booths in the paint plant line.
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 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
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.
This drying house was full of ventilation ducts, broken scales, and insulated carts to haul powder around the line.
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
Spots of yellow gravel mark gold mines with nothing left on the surface. Is this one of the drainage pipes?
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.
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.
The superstructure for the sea-leg skyways serves no purpose now… the offices are bricked up, too. Why?
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
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.
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.
Workers would undoubtedly prefer to use the belt manlift on the right.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
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.
The bricks routinely fell from the walls, like seeds falling from trees. On a smaller scale, new walls grew from the floors.
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.
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.
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 many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
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.
On the second floor of the kettle building where corn mash was boiled, holes where tanks once sat were everywhere.
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”)
Storms and waves, focused by the Port of Wisconsin entry have focused the faces to tear-up these boards below.
Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.
The factory was utterly vertical.
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.
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.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
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.
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 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.
On the middle level of the Poacher House. For a detailed view of the chart see ‘See Reverse’.
These copulas made the iron for casting.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
The four buildings seen here comprise almost all of the notable remaining structures.
Chutes connect the bottoms of the silos to a conveyor belt.
A gateway for St. Louis as seen through a gateway (of sorts) in East St. Louis.
Filters and fans to draw air into the boilers in the second power plant.
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.
The side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
Some parts of the doctor’s apartment in the Administration Tower were decidedly upscale. Look at the beautiful ironwork on that sink!
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.
Steam pipes snake up the walls like vines, but with asbestos.
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.
These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.
Looking into the Pool 8 Annex from the original Ogilvie’s elevator.
Observing War City in the midst of an electric storm. This photo is lit almost entirely by lightning.
Part of the system below Dock 2.
The huge snowfalls of 2011 brought new collapses across the buildings.
A few from atop the steam gauges along the western wall. The turbines were scrapped quickly after the plant closed, it seemed.
Looking out of Kurth Malt a the neighbors–the silos past Electric Steel are those of the Froedert Malt Company, now gone.
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.
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.
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.
After climbing the elevator shaft to the illusive second level, a new pallet of colors were revealed.
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.
The engine room.
Goop and slop slip to drop in the shame drain.
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.
The only door into a large windowless concrete room, probably a storage bin. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
These tubes would bring cement to the top of the plant for storage in the silos.
While the stokers are gone, the pipes bringing pulverized coal down were left.
Standing atop the dust collector, the factory breaks down into diverging patterns, processes.
A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.
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.
To run new gutters through the building, some of the plaster walls of the Chateau had to be smashed through.
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.
C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
The water tower no doubt made good scrap after it hit the ground.
A sign of where man met machine.
A lime auger and massive feet of the lime hopper.
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.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
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.
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.
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.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
Past the underground repair shop is this cliffside adit.
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.
The light next to this acid tank was perfect, thanks to a gaping hole in the roof.
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.
Dirty filters for some equipment hang, awaiting a purpose.
Easier-to-demolish parts of the power plant were torched apart. Catwalks to nowhere meant lots of dead ends.
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.
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.
The working end of the blast furnace, where molten metal would flow like lava out of the furnace… a process called ‘tapping’.
A caustic tank in one of the unremodeled brewhouse backrooms.
Looking toward the old power house, right below one of its arteries.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.
This picture shows the challenges of moving around underground in the base.
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.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
Blast Furnace 7 as seen from the ore yard. Imagine running up those stairs through blast furnace smoke.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
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.
Without a roof, the bricks were being washed away in the later years of the roundhouse.
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.
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.
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.
A chalkboard halfway to the headhouse is untouched since the mill closed. It still has the cheat sheets!
A machine to cast copper billets.
A great lakes freighter slowly passes SK Wheat Pool 4 with ‘The Sleeping Giant’ in the background. Arista 100.
The conveyor between the shore and Dock 2. Note the gap in the aerial walkway that used to connect Dock 4 to the rest of the complex.
A brewmaster’s desk leans beside a long-disused stainless steel kettle. The staircase above goes to another level of kettles, which are visibly older.
A simple porcelain fountain in the original brewhouse. The water fountain, no doubt, is not original.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
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.
Every floor of the main hospital buildings had its own bathrooms. They often make obvious the fact that these buildings were intentionally built as permanent structures. Even a century after they were built, and several decades of total neglect, they were in fabulous condition.
The bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
I tried to hide the graffiti from my photos, but sometimes it wasn’t possible.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
Isabella A (left) and B (right) were built in 1910 and 1913, respectively.
In the middle of Electric Steel, dust collector vents cross-cross out of sight.
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.
Dust explosions were a real risk for grain mills. These funnels helped to filter the air in the mill.
I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
The conveyorway between the on-site grain elevator and mill.
A typical large mine tunnel. You can just make out the narrow gauge rail.
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.
The Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
Sunset through a stained window in the headhouse made the floor feel like a heavy industrial Disney movie.
The gulls wait to eat the next load of spilled grain. Arista 100.
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.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
Looking down the kiln line from atop the furnaces.
The shed in the front was full of worker supplies–namely goggles and heavy leather gloves. Molten copper isn’t a friendly thing to handle.
Gloves hang in the basement of the former quality assurance labs.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
This volume gauge could be read from 30 feet away, which is useful when the control panels and valves are that far away.