In the distance, a semi truck kicks up fresh rain from the highway. As seen from the top of the steel blast door.
Below the factory floor is a network of hallways and tunnels, all flooded with water.
A bright red light blinks on the end of the abandoned dock to ward off passing boats.
One last look in the mirror before you turn around and walk onstage…
Each room is painted a different hue, so the light reflecting into the hallway carries those colors. The blue padding on the left is for one of the padded rooms…
The clock, which was sold after Amtrak dumped the building, was returned to the Waiting Room in 2005.
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.
Glazed-brick walls catch the reflections of half an arch, backlighting the cool curving staircase. It’s all custom, baby.
Part of an ongoing series on found American flags in shuttered factories.
Camera: Pentax 67.
Exploring the plant while live Reggae plays nearby was bizarre.
2016. A section of the third floor that has changed a lot over the years. Compare to 2006 shot.
It’s almost hard to tell whether the colors come from oil in the water or the colorful glass lit up by the Michigan sunset.
The red brick elevator is reflected in the flooded railyard. Note the saturated red square on the elevator, where the ‘4’ was scrubbed off. FP-100c.
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.
Giant chunks of cooled slag form an island near Mud Lake.
A morning breeze pushes the last ice from the lake against Wisconsin Point.
No ambiguity here… miners, check in at this office.
A panoramic view of the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit River and downtown from the roof of the 1925 warehouse. Ready to move to Detroit?
Different doors for different vehicles, I would guess. White Pine Mine used tire-based vehicles, rather than track-based, making it pretty different than other mines I’ve been to.
2013. As part of the Head House’s facelift, it’s gotten new windows. However, you can now still see where the conveyor-way connected this building with the elevators behind it in the upper right of the image.
A broken signal light that would indicate to incoming engineers and brakemen the status of the dock deck. The streetlight-style lighting is a retrofit; originally the top of the dock would be lit by strings of lights suspended by towers on each side of the deck… a poor system according to the workers at Allouez who had the same lights.
As the Barker steamed past the dock and island, the sunset casts the shadow of the Taconite Harbor receiving trestle on the boat. Through the fog, you can see some of the islands that were joined into a breakwater.
This was taken before the top of the docks really started to rot-out; now this stretch past the crane is distinctly unsafe to cross. Still, you can’t beat the view of Dock #2 winding into the distance, where the approach is chopped-off before the yard used to extend.
The Osborne Mercantile reflected in Twohy Mercantile’s eastern windows, minutes before subset. The current owner has done a fair job replacing broken windows with plexiglass to keep the elements out.
Looking toward Duluth from the top of a Dock 1 light tower. NP Dock 1 is on the left… an earlier competitor to Allouez. The stars reflect on Lake Superior.
Stained windows and sheet metal catch the sunset from across the Ohio River.
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.
Taken before the Ford was towed to Duluth for scrapping.
On top of the light hoop, 160-feet up, a ship comes into port, ready to load-up. If you look really close, you can see my shadow cast on the dock below, courtesy of the full moon.
The underwater superstructure of the dock was visible through these big holes.
Looking at the top of the Washburn Crosby elevator from a mirrored window in the Guthrie Theater.
A long tunnel stretches toward the Mississippi. Was this the route Model Ts took on their way to waiting barges?
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
Near Isabella, MB, frozen flooded fields expand to the horizon. Taken on a Voigtlander 25mm f/2.5 if you were wondering.
2005. Looking across the Mississippi from a park the night after the first snow.
Looking toward Mitchell from its last building.
Reflections of graffiti during spring melt.
The end of the monorail in the nitrating house.
Looking down at the Port Arthur Ore Dock from Manitoba Pool Elevator #3. The conveyor belts are gone and King Elevator is in the far distance.
We can lie like sinners
Breathe the air like children
And you could lead and I could follow
All those times are gone
“Duluth” by Trampled by Turtles
From bottom to top: The demolished Dock 3, the abandoned Dock 4, and the active BNSF Taconite Dock.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
Cobbled walkways followed the assembly lines.
A typical lab at the Research Center.
Taken from the rooftop looking toward downtown, a hometown, a river town.
I can confirm the existence of the long-rumored Federal Rectangle Research Institute labs.
An elevator is reflected in the flooded footprint of Spencer & Kellogg. These trains are in storage for the winter.
Brewery Creek Waterfall, somewhere above Duluth. Lit with candles and a small LED panel. To me, it looked like a pipe pouring molten metal.
The surgical suite was flooding.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
Two charmers, I’m sure. This area was a coal pit for the nearby power plant.
Peering at Stelco’s abandoned steel rod rolling mill, not demolished. The rectangular on the right in between is the boiler house that heated Stelco.
The cold air collided with the sun-warmed water on the floor, filling the ground floor of the Keg House with thick fog…
One of the clusters of elevators. Doors would open on both sides so that vehicles could be moved through them if necessary. There is only one set of stairs in the whole building.
The American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
A full harbor on a hot summer evening, just after twilight, as seen from atop the castle walls.
No, it’s not your Mac’s desktop, it’s a beautiful Lake Superior night. Taken from near the former Pittsburgh and Reading Anthracite Plant. You can see the frame that used to hold the lifeboat that was auctioned in 2006 to the left of the Pilot House.
Observing War City in the midst of an electric storm. This photo is lit almost entirely by lightning.
Portland Huron and downtown Duluth from the end of the Elevator A slip.
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.
Water turned the taconite powder into a rusty, slippery paste… everywhere the water pooled up, doubling the beauty from certain special angles.
Most of the control panels were faceless. No doubt, they were parted out to keep other sugar mills alive.
The orange bars were secured to the tunnel walls to support electric lines for the mine carts. Lower parts of the sand mines were allowed to flood. The water was perfectly still, and made for a mud so thick it could suck off your boots.
It’s a small world… look at it.
The lights of the active docks keep the retired #6 up all night.
Here you can see the end of the scrapping phase in 2011.
A humble stripper stage in the old NorShor lounge. The motif (back) highlights some of the area’s industries: shipping, mining, fishing, and taking your clothes off for tips.
The top of the docks are so rotten in places that you can see the lake through the boards. In the foreground you can see the controls for the chutes, which work on a clutch.
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 many-windowed metal building, the lumberyard buildings and the abandoned starch works buildings are separated by a thick wall of pallets.
There’s concrete under that dirt… under that water… somewhere.
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.
The former BESCO building in the last light of day.
90% of Brach’s looks like this. Concrete walls, mushroom pillars, and water over the floor.
Taken from atop a grain train at the end of Cargill B-2, looking toward Lake Superior “I”, now part of the sample complex. This area used to have another slip, but Cargill filled it on when it built the elevator on the right.
A look at another “Belt-o-Vator”. I like the sign.
“GREETING FROM BEAUTIFUL GARY–WISH YOU WERE HERE!” My postcard shot.
The windows reflect the sky. The bricks hit the ground.
Looking toward the Quenching Tower from the coal tower platform.
Daisy Mill could accept shipments from water, rail, and truck at one time. Now everything comes and goes by rail.
These concrete blocks were formed to be solid mounts for machinery. All the metal was scrapped in the late 1990s, leaving these modern ruins. Seagulls love them.
Can you hear the ship’s horn through this picture?
David Aho pictured.
The exterior of one of the administrative wings.
This electric Wellman crane was added to extract coal from ships for the power plant that Erie built beside their dock. Now, with the advent of self-unloading boats, it’s been replaced by a funnel and conveyor belt.
The roof had structures bigger than most buildings in South Bend.
Looking from abandoned to active. The end of Dock 6 often has a crane and some shacks on it, as the chutes aren’t used anymore. Instead, conveyors are installed on the land-side of the dock that fill docked vessels, making the end of the dock little more than a breakwater and a place to park repair and recovery equipment.
After a little rain, the roof took on the color of the bright pink letters.
From the bottom of the skyway I looked back, my eyes tracing the vines from the marsh up the smokestacks to the perfect Midwestern sky.
There is no denying that the Fergus Falls asylum was a beautiful place, especially around sunset.
A typical narrow hallway at Birtle.
The end of the peninsula where Consolidated D was built, aka General Mills A, used to hold a Northern Pacific freight depot. These are part of the ruins of it.
These pools looked into the cribbing below the concrete.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
Gaskets still organized on nails beside the power plant. This used to be a maintenance room, but since its roof and walls were torn down, it’s not any kind of room.
As sun set the car barn underwent a temperature inversion causing a dense fog to rise from the puddles where tracks once where. I opened the Yellowstone-sized doors and watched the bank roll out into downtown Mitchell.
Short-stack remains of mounts for rod and ball mills, if I was to bet. The concentrator separated junk rock (tails) from the copper and silver ore, to such a point it could be smelted.
The Osborn Block (front) and the Twohy (rear) at sunset. In the distance, you can almost make out Globe Elevators. One of my favorite photos of 2013.
A flooded assembly line.
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.
When the lake levels were especially low, the pilings of Dock 3 that are usually underwater were clearly visible between Dock 2 and Dock 4.
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.
These corner pilings served as bumpers… a little assurance against wind, ice, and new captains.
Algae grows where water flows/From the sawtooth roof/To the mines below/The sun climbs high/But is in no one’s eyes/A wall alone crumbles/It was no suprise
If you look carefully along the side of the slip alongside this image of Cargill B-2, you will see the remains of the crane stops when this was a Hannah coal dock.
The left tunnel goes to the opposite side of the car elevator seen on the right. There was a time when Fords were shipped by barge on the Mississippi. This freight elevator brought them from the assembly floor to river level. A separate elevator was for moving men and silica up and down.
2005. The stage in front of the cafeteria, as it was.
The mill was powered, in part, by water flowing through turbines under it. After the flow worked the industrial heart of the flour mill, it was exit to the Mississippi 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.
From the summer a bunch of Australians visited Minnesota.
A walk-up service window on the side of an administration building of some sort. I have a feeling the buildings were color coded.
The mill itself is one giant room sectioned into levels–more catwalks than concrete. Here you can see the evaporators and have a sense for the miles and miles of pipes that zigzag through the plant.
About a century later. A view of the main factory building, looking toward the two furnaces.
Seven TV sets and not one shows my reflection. I’d also like to point out not two of these are the same.
Instead of a pit in the floor, now there is an oversized chessboard here.