I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
Under the monster and its teeth.
A high-ceilinged room where kegs would be delivered for cleaning, before they were refilled with fresh booze.
The Dock 5 sign at track level. Probably as an aid to sailors reboarding their vessels.
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
The stairs of this elevator had their landings removed long ago to keep vandals grounded.
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.
“What’s that diamond thingy on the Pilot House?” you ask? It’s a 1920s-era radio transmission direction finder, a pre-radar navigation aid. Lit with diffused flash.
#67, one of the only lockers that is not crunched to the point it refuses to open. In the corner of the small office area.
A printing press in the attic of the Reception Hospital.
It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
This tunnel goes to the adit over the Eagle River Mills. I bet those carts go fast down here!
Part of the 1917 mill that had a little bit of roof left over it–most of this building was open to the sky. The birds loved it, but everything metal was quickly becoming too unstable to walk on.
These corner pilings served as bumpers… a little assurance against wind, ice, and new captains.
A volcano (?) under a window.
A bank of vertical filing cabinets, probably dating to National Guard days.
An old stoker in a power plant that was abandoned long before the mill next to it, by all indications. Sugar mills burned dry beet pulp pellets for fuel.
Looking across the catwalk attache to the elevated control room, in charge of the train dumping part of the operation.
Looking through the trestle toward the ghost town.
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 generator room was state of the art when it was installed, allowing the complex to use motors and electric lighting ahead of its competitors.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
The side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
An emergency slide to help workers evacuate the blending house in an emergency.
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
This low brick building is interesting to me.
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
The elevator is stuck between floors.
Outside the locker room without the sandwiches and beer… plenty of glass shards, though, if you feel like it.
Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
Two small generators connected to a Frick steam engine.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded machines.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
The original color of the wall was probably green.
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 strange arcade machine in the basement.
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 fantastic Art Deco portico over the main entrance to the concourse.
Kat dancing down the trestle, which is one of the highest in the state, standing about 100 feet over the road. Mamiya 6/Portra 160
Just across the North Dakota border, a rusty Milwaukee Road boxcar sits where it was shoved off the mainline. The grain elevator in the background marks the tracks, which is still used by BNSF.
On the left is the broken glass room that contains the controls for the cable spool, now gone, that sat in the metal shell on the right. The stairs led down to the hoisting engine itself. You can make out the slits where the cable ran up to the headframe tower through the gaping archway.
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.
A multi-family home with an attic bedroom. The staircase was unstable, to say the least.
A quick vertical panorama taken on my back at the sweet spot of a great summer sunset. On the skylight is the torch-cut catwalk that used to link the outside of the smokestacks that vented the cupolas.
The pipes in the boiler would be full of water, so the heat in the furnace.
A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.
When the factory’s production line was up for auction, many parts were removed, crated and labeled with big painted numbers to ease their removal by buyers. Not everything sold, however, so not one dark corner of the factory seems without a pile of dislocated industrial junk.
A string of vehicles have found death at Packard recently. Usually they are simply driving up ramps and pushed off the rooftops, but this one seemed destined for a worse fate. Found in the far corner of the far building.
Workers in the basement tunnels had to communicate with the workhouse operators 100 feet above and vice versa. Alarms and bells were installed to signal trouble over the sound of the elevator machinery.
The the left, the nitrating line in War City. To the right, War City’s sole suburb, Charlestown, IN.
Spare firebox bricks palleted on the second floor, is if it was going to be repaired.
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.
Looking through the center of a scrapped generator, its copper long scrapped.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
I couldn’t help but include this ghost sign for a demolished motel…
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.
In the far back of the cellars there are some old bottles. This arch shows an old entrance to the cellars, now collapsed.
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
Another ruined spiral staircase in the mill.
Part of the grain drier system in ADM #1 crawls up the side of the building like a steel vine.
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
The Bunk House was not just for sleeping, but it was for eating and recreation too. In one corner, near the door to the Blacksmith Shop (left) is this terrific stove, probably original (circa 1937).
The main shaft’s cable spooled with bird castings belies the fact that lives used to dangle from its steel-wound strength. Arrows on the circles would indicate the mine level the cars were currently at.
Made by the Mergenthalen Linotype Company of New York, this model series (300) was introduced in 1960 and boasted a 12-line-per-minute reproduction rate.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
The new steel door of the diesel car shops, built in 1948 and used through the 1960s, as seen from the service pit. On the top of the photograph you can see the exhaust vent.
This movable chute came off its rails.
This is one of my favorite images of the year because of the color, light and textures. Someone told me once that the medium of photographers is not film or digital sensors, but rather shadows. This photo is evidence of that.
Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.
The Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
Quincy Smelter, 2014.
Old boathouses near the dock.
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.
Prize Mine has been the victim of erosion. Its north wall is pushed in by rockfall and its south side is far from ground level.
Looking out from my perch close to the Kam toward the Ogilvie head house. To the left is a newer concrete annex, probably built in the years it bore the name Saskatchewan Pool 8.
Atop Elevator ‘M’, formerly Cargill ‘O’.
Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.
A little sheet metal box somehow made it back home.
The spectacular, if precarious, view of downtown Minneapolis from the roof of ADM Annex 4. Note the great messages left by various graffiti artists who made it to the spot.
Chutes from a hundred machines interconnect to more machines and chutes on a dozen factory floors.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
An interesting crane in the back of the machine shop. It seems very light duty, so I am not certain what it was used for.
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.
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.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
“Against the blue sky, its rusting central silos look like rising smoke meeting the last minutes of a sunset. These give way to a corrugated night sky of blue gray, punched-through with staggered four-pane windows, all glassless.”
Where workers would sign documents and collect their pay.
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
Part of the back of the distribution boards; the rear of a giant remote transformer switch.
Asbestos-cord-wrapped glass tongs piled in a shed next to the pouring line.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
Powdered coal would sit in these hoppers before they get mixed with water to make a slurry. Then the mixture is injected into the firebox and ignited to make a coal-powered flamethrower capable of boiling water very quickly.
I found a face.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
I like this picture because it shows some of the only unbroken windows at Packard.
A one-of-a-kind installation in Armour’s otherwise gutted engine house.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
There were bins with hundreds of spools in them in the basement.
Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.
In case of fire, workers on higher floors would take the emergency slides to escape.
The woman in the wall has the bed; is pulling it in; is holding you down…
An original, minimally remodeled bathroom above the cafeteria reminds us what the whole complex once looked like.
The tops of the coke stoves.
If it weren’t for the fact there were trees growing from it, and that I cropped out the end of the rail approach, one might think this is still used occasionally.
The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
The UP gets a lot of snow, making exploring its old mines a special challenge in the winter. The snow is more than 6 feet deep in this picture, and firm enough to walk on.
A pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
A line of huge machines wait to be used as parts under a long-disused belt drive.
From an unsteady perch atop the blast furnace, the morning light began to leach into the complex below.
A washout two thirds of the way down the tram gave me a place to relax in the thin air.
Interlocking bricks at the mouth of the stoker-less boiler.
The hoist signal dangling beside the modern mine shaft would ring a bell next to the giant electric motors that would send the men and machinery into the underground.
The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
Blending the explosive ingredients was dangerous. It is no wonder that the blending house had so many emergency slides.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
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.
The bottom of the tailings boom is rotten. In days when the dredge, floated, gangways connected it to shore, it seemed. You can see the size of the pontoons under the boat here.
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.
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
Installed in 1904 at the center of the plant, this is one of two batteries of boilers. Being in Oshkosh, heat was very important to keeping labor moving in the cold months.
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.
I believe this is the push car, meaning it would push the charge in the oven out the opposite side into the train car.
Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
Behind the evaporators are heavy access hatches to inspect the steam pipes within.
A handmade sign tracks the progress through the current beet campaign. For this factory, it was about 30 years ago. Perhaps the idea was to pit shifts against each other.
A massive steel sheer’s equally massive drive cog. Imagine the force.
The American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
Furnace #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
The powered lime hopper had a lot of levels.
Without a roof, the bricks were being washed away in the later years of the roundhouse.
One of the pair of motors that powered this mine shaft. In the 1950s, this shaft was designated a rescue shaft, and was only maintained for emergencies. One reason that Cheratte built Shaft 3 nearby was because these motors and infrastructure did not have the capacity that the giant mine below called for.
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.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
This big rusty sphere hides behind the incomplete 5-stack.
A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.
Much of the milling equipment predated the mill itself, so I would not be surprised if this particular machine really dates to 1860.
Workers’ lockers, strewn across Main Street, yet still out of the way.
The elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
In the nitrating house.
A sheik mustard-yellow paint scheme across the roofless engine house goes great with the industrial moss and rust.
…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
The oldest part of this mill had a wooden roof that rotted away long ago. Slowly, rust is dulling the edge on every cog left behind.
Behind the factory was an old truck, blocked in by overgrown trees on one side and the buildings on the other.
This picture typifies the industrial ideal of the early 20th century. More metal than air. More efficiency than beauty. More profits than people.
One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.
I wish I knew what has become of this great one-of-a-kind sign that used to brag how many days the Clyde Iron factory has gone without a serious accident. Update: It’s hanging in one of the smaller venue spaces behind the bar.
A stencil instructs the first and third shifts to ask security for access. Security was out during all my visits, except one mishap where a strung-out local chased me with a truck. Having spent a decade exploring the U.P., I was not caught off guard.
A collapsing and unstable building.
A colorful makeshift wall.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
This mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.
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.
Looking from the crane-motor catwalk into the Calumet. The arm shown here with the pulleys looped through it would have been lowered and the bucket conveyor in it would throw grain to waiting ships and boats bound for flour mills and foreign lands.
Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.
Looking down the kiln line from atop the furnaces.
Looking into one of the fire slides, designed to evacuate patients extremely quickly. In 1880, a fire completely destroyed the asylum at St. Peter, Minnesota, killing 30 patients.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
One evening I spent an hour lighting tea candles through the tunnels below the elevator. It was a magical transformation.
A colorful boiler is a happy boiler! RotoGrate systems remove ashes from the boiler firebox by revolving the bottom of the system to let the fly ash drop into a hopper. This greatly increases boiler efficiency.
Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
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.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
Iron becoming dirt becoming birches.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
I love the ‘hats’ on the top of the SWP-4 headhouse. FP-100C.
On the dark side of the workhouse at sunset, you can almost see where the walls used to be. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
From the slip where grain boats would tie for loading and unloading, the unloader juts in a modernist-architectural way that is oddly visibly satisfying. Inside that white building is the retracted boat unloader, more or less a long and sturdy conveyor attached to a joint and crane motor. There used to be four loaders that looked like simple tubes with cranes and ropes attached hanging from this side of the elevator. All that remains of those is one fixture on the white building (not visible here) and the frame of one on the elevator proper, visible in the upper-middle of this image, to the right of the unloader apparatus.
In case power was lost, this manual signal could direct trains on and off the taconite trestle. Turning the pole would change the color of the light on top and the shape of the metal flags.
C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
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.
This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.
Part of the Pillsbury tunnel that brought water back to the Mississippi River.
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.
Pocket door and light switches in the upper control room, at the top of the spiral staircase.
Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
Peering through the glass in the Hoist Operator’s cab, stained with graffiti. The cable and reels can be seen through the glass… these are now gone.
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.
This rod mill (?) was made in Denver Colorado at a factory now buried by condos. #justdenverthings
Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
The secret sweet-yet-salty center of the nameless factoryscape. Home base, tuned to rule the AC and turn out Product X at record rates, I’m sure.
Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.
The original metal sign over the porticos.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
The factory was utterly vertical.