C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
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 end of the heating line allowed glass to cool slowly, and thus be stronger.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
On the middle level of the Poacher House. For a detailed view of the chart see ‘See Reverse’.
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 bricks routinely fell from the walls, like seeds falling from trees. On a smaller scale, new walls grew from the floors.
The gulls wait to eat the next load of spilled grain. Arista 100.
Not ghosts. Slow-moving explorers’ shadows create a ghostly effect in the ‘Old Ward’–the second floor of the Service Building.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
The Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
Looking into the main workhouse from the skyway into the annex elevator. But who care? Look at the colors!
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.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
A typical stretch of the assembly line.
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.
The top floor of the Dominion Elevator. Acros 100 on 120.
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!
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.
The huge snowfalls of 2011 brought new collapses across the buildings.
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
This sawtooth roof collapsed months later under the weight of an early snow.
These tubes would bring cement to the top of the plant for storage in the silos.
Looking up at the LEMP malting plant elevator. Look at that BRICKWORK!
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.
A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.
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.
Chutes connect the bottoms of the silos to a conveyor belt.
2005. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
The side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
Past the underground repair shop is this cliffside adit.
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.
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.
SWP4-A on the left and Viterra C on the right in a 90-degree panorama.
Easier-to-demolish parts of the power plant were torched apart. Catwalks to nowhere meant lots of dead ends.
The final ball mill in the Chain O’ Mines concentrator. Behind it was a bucket of steel balls.
A sign of where man met machine.
In what has turned into a kind of industrial courtyard between four ovens some people have posted their tags. X was here.
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.
The skylights with geared-to-open windows were massive and quite functional.
This giant gear’s sole purpose was to turn the ship’s single rudder in all conditions.
I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
The light next to this acid tank was perfect, thanks to a gaping hole in the roof.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
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.
This drying house was full of ventilation ducts, broken scales, and insulated carts to haul powder around the line.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
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.
After climbing the elevator shaft to the illusive second level, a new pallet of colors were revealed.
Generations of Two Harbors teens smoked their first weed in this abandoned building, in my estimation. Comment if I’m right!
Standing next to the now-demolished records room.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
One of a few dozen steel bed frames left in the rubble of the collapsing building.
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!
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.
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 great lakes freighter slowly passes SK Wheat Pool 4 with ‘The Sleeping Giant’ in the background. Arista 100.
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.
A chalkboard halfway to the headhouse is untouched since the mill closed. It still has the cheat sheets!
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.
Chester Creek’s lower sections change, demarking decades of change for Superior Street.
Under the monster and its teeth.
Looking up from the ground floor at the various levels of the sugar mill.
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.
Halfway up the coal conveyor, covered in coal dust… black streaks of snot. Starting to get good.
Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.
Water vapor was collected and condensed to be reused in other processes. Kodak Tri-X 400/Leica M7
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!
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.
One level below where the cotton was nitrated, the fumes must have been powerful. This floor had several massive ventilation fans in its walls.
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.
Sluice tables stretch into the darkness.
A huge steam pipe snakes between catwalks, through the floors, and toward the condensers, so the water could be recovered and reused.
The front door to the auditorium.
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
The superstructure for the sea-leg skyways serves no purpose now… the offices are bricked up, too. Why?
Looking toward the old power house, right below one of its arteries.
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.
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.
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.
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 machine to cast copper billets.
This building had its own kitchen, suggesting that it may have been one of the hospitals units within Norwich, such as the tuberculosis hospital.
The only door into a large windowless concrete room, probably a storage bin. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
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.
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.
Jet Lowe is my inspiration.
So much relies on one thing stacked on top of another thing.
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.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
A typical large mine tunnel. You can just make out the narrow gauge rail.
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.
At noon, the lower skylights around the shops glow yellow-green, thanks to the flora blooming on the roof above.
The giant radiators in this casting shop look like a flag to me.
Isabella A (left) and B (right) were built in 1910 and 1913, respectively.
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.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
Part of the system below Dock 2.
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
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.
What are we to do in an emergency?
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.
Workers would undoubtedly prefer to use the belt manlift on the right.
Watch your head, say the colors. This side of the plant is apparently still standing and is owned by the city.
Observing War City in the midst of an electric storm. This photo is lit almost entirely by lightning.
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.
The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
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.
Next to the generator room is the pump room, which moved steam around the complex.
To run new gutters through the building, some of the plaster walls of the Chateau had to be smashed through.
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.
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.
In the nitrating house.
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.
Looking into the tunnel system from below the Women’s Ward. The tunnels were used mostly by staff to move food and laundry.
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 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.
Goop and slop slip to drop in the shame drain.
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.
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.
These steam powered pumps were integral to the cooling of the meat packing plant next door.
Steam pipes squirm around the stacks.
The only good shot I have of the top of Battery A, in the upper left. Though it seemed to have been disused before its neighbor it had a lot less growth on it.
A natural stone floor in Brewery Creek’s upper path has been worn smooth.
In the steam plant, steam pipes bundled in canvas and asbestos criss-cross the walls.
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.
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.
Looking down the kiln line from atop the furnaces.
Some parts of the doctor’s apartment in the Administration Tower were decidedly upscale. Look at the beautiful ironwork on that sink!
Much of the signage in the mill was hand-drawn.
The water tower no doubt made good scrap after it hit the ground.
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 four buildings seen here comprise almost all of the notable remaining structures.
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.
When it was convenient, the sugar company would pull equipment, even pipes, from one mill for another.
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.
On the second floor of the kettle building where corn mash was boiled, holes where tanks once sat were everywhere.
Look at the floor–do you see the hole? That goes down a lonnnnnng ways.
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.
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
The sound of water running in the distance.
While the stokers are gone, the pipes bringing pulverized coal down were left.
A simple porcelain fountain in the original brewhouse. The water fountain, no doubt, is not original.
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.
Dirty filters for some equipment hang, awaiting a purpose.
The factory was utterly vertical.
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.
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.
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 head distiller could walk out of their office to this balcony and overlook the whole fermentation process in a glance.
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.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
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.
One of the early automated painting booths in the paint plant line.
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.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
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 bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
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.
A lime auger and massive feet of the lime hopper.
A gateway for St. Louis as seen through a gateway (of sorts) in East St. Louis.
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.
Filters and fans to draw air into the boilers in the second power plant.
In the ward for the criminally insane, this door was the most-worn. Nail scratches mark the area around the peep hole, the wood is gouged everywhere from thrown chairs and hard kicks, and a ominous blood-colored stain is visible where it dripped in the second inset from the bottom. Aside from the damage, the coloring in this section was very vibrant, though it was probably little reprieve for those who had to work here.
A ruined culvert near Oregon Creek, behind Old Main, the predecessor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Without a roof, the bricks were being washed away in the later years of the roundhouse.
The generator hall of the last power station, as seen from the gantryway.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
Water at the bottom of the silo was perfectly clear.
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.
The bottom of the grain drier inside ADM-Delmar #1.
Storms and waves, focused by the Port of Wisconsin entry have focused the faces to tear-up these boards below.
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.
I tried to hide the graffiti from my photos, but sometimes it wasn’t possible.
At the top of the workhouse, dust collection pipes weave through cross-crossing conveyors.
Standing atop the dust collector, the factory breaks down into diverging patterns, processes.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
These machines circulated water through the powder from the ball mills. Gold and silver is heavier than gravel, so it sinks while the junk rock floats.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
Ryan, as seen from the crane ladder.
Spots of yellow gravel mark gold mines with nothing left on the surface. Is this one of the drainage pipes?
Steam pipes snake up the walls like vines, but with asbestos.
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.
Chester Creek, where it was forced to dip below the circa-1970s I-35 tunnels.
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.
This picture shows the challenges of moving around underground in the base.
The mostly-empty distilling room is easy to spot from the outside because of the distinctive round window.