rusty

Crystalizer 5

A line of huge machines wait to be used as parts under a long-disused belt drive.

Silos Like a Sunset

“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.”

Eighth Floor Warning

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.

Conveyor Bend

A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.

Bed Rest

Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.

Dock 4 Panorama

The top of Dock 4 was too dangerous to explore, but this panorama gives you an idea of the view (and how rotten the wood was).

Payroll

Where workers would sign documents and collect their pay.

Blast Smelter View

From an unsteady perch atop the blast furnace, the morning light began to leach into the complex below.

Emergency Slide

In case of fire, workers on higher floors would take the emergency slides to escape.

440 Volts

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.

Paint Shop

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.

Side of a Boiler

Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.

Shaft No. 1 Hoisting Motor

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.

MPE3- Tripper

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.

Eagle Mills

Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.

Fisher Locker

#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.

Fermenter Sixteen

Detail view of one of the fermenting tanks, still set-up for the distillery tours that no doubt took place when there last were such things. Nevertheless, the capacity of this tank multiplied across these all over the distillery floor really shows the power this company once had.

Ghost Truck

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.

Front Porch

A multi-family home with an attic bedroom. The staircase was unstable, to say the least.

Chute A-6

Atop Elevator ‘M’, formerly Cargill ‘O’.

Bids

A bank of vertical filing cabinets, probably dating to National Guard days.

Built 1860

Much of the milling equipment predated the mill itself, so I would not be surprised if this particular machine really dates to 1860.

Sea Leg Motor

The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.

God Loves Lime

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.

LP Hand Warmer

Inside the west portal is a big liquid propane hand warmer, for workers to take the cold off their gloves as they handled the switches and doors of Cramer Tunnel. Mamiya GA645 / Kodak Pro 400

Headframe

There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.

Gangway I

A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.

Far Flung Locker

Workers’ lockers, strewn across Main Street, yet still out of the way.

War City Power

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.

Hopper Stopper

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.

Empire Bricks

Interlocking bricks at the mouth of the stoker-less boiler.

Elevator Pulley

Scrappers tried to take this steel pulley out of Fisher, but it proved too heavy.

Rooftop Panorama

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 Chief Lady

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

Flooded Ford Mine Room

Looking through perfectly clear water into an abandoned mine room. My guess is that it contained some pumps to keep the mine dry and equipment related to the elevators.

Metal Sheer Cogs

A massive steel sheer’s equally massive drive cog. Imagine the force.

Find Texture

Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.

Spare Parts II

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.

Elevator Shaft

The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.

Kernel Crusher

When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.

Ogilvie’s Fez

When I first saw Ogilvie’s from the ground, I promised myself to look back when i found my way into this little pitched outcropping which seemed to have the best view of Thunder Bay I could imagine. It turns out, though, that there is no floor in that section; it is just extended machine access! Oh well. Mount McKay in the background in the last light.

Operator’s Chair

The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.

Cutler-Hammer

Part of the back of the distribution boards; the rear of a giant remote transformer switch.

Mine Evacuation Alarm

The shaft house, where hydraulic steel doors allowed or denied entry into the mine shaft. Overhead is a light and alarm. If it sounds, the mine is being evacuated, and you best not go in and best stay the hell out of the way. Locals dump tires here, now.

Vintage X-Ray

A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.

Keeper’s Station Quarters

This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.

Hoist House

I included this image to illustrate the height of the headgrame and the distance between it and the hoist house. Of course, compared with the depth of the mine shaft, this distance is short.

Machine Shop Crane

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.

Cascade Room

Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.

Dorm Hallway

Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.

Lighthouse Basement

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.

Approach of Dock 6 – (C)SUBSTREET

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.

Silk Spools

There were bins with hundreds of spools in them in the basement.

Adobe Window

It’s never a good sign when the windows are boarded from the inside.

Chute-Side Catwalk

I wonder how sheltered workers on this mid-level catwalk that follows the ore chutes is in storms. Note the chunks of concrete stuck in the catwalk grates–the pockets (right) are falling apart.

Signals

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.

Pilothouse

The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.

Water Wheel I

This wheel scoops the washings from the sluice room and places it on the tailings conveyor.

Water Wheel II

A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.

Ogilvie Headhouse

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.

Rust-Shut Grain-Thrower

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.

Waders Where

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.

Turbine Bottom

Part of the Pillsbury tunnel that brought water back to the Mississippi River.

Headframe Eyes

Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.

Thunder Bay Elevator- Out of Service

Beside the half-demolished Thunder Bay Elevator shops and offices (brick building) are some rusting fishing boats. A little bit of SWP #7 is seen in the upper right.

Midock

The holes were for men to poke reluctant ore with long poles, with the hope that a lucky jab would let the load slide down into the boat below. Now they’re just traps.

Catwalk, Looking Up

The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.

Furnace

This is a 1956 furnace. It was used to forge wheels, casings, and parts for the axel shop.

In the Trommel

Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.

Mothballing by the Numbers

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.

Lyons Boiler

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.

Nitrating Line

The the left, the nitrating line in War City. To the right, War City’s sole suburb, Charlestown, IN.

Hanging Duct

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.

Moss

I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.

Hoist Operator Booth

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.

Corner of Globe

The corner of the elevator… lumber armored with steel for fireproofing and water resistance.

Dock Shack I

Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.

Studebaker in HDR

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.

Two Chairs

The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.

The Original Tumblr

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.

1917 Mill

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.

Lost Time – (C)SUBSTREET

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.

Power Plant

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.

Milwaukee Road Boxcar

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.

Shaft No. 3 Hoist Shell

Looking through the an access panel at the hoist room for Shaft No. 3. The cable had long ago been scrapped, along with the motors to drive the pulleys. I still admire the workmanship on the spool’s arching metal shell.

Tunnel Tiles

These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.

Charge Car

I believe this is the push car, meaning it would push the charge in the oven out the opposite side into the train car.

Please Close Windows

Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.

Trommel

The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.

From the Old Mill

This is part of the oldest section of factory, one that hasn’t had a roof in a long time and all usable equipment has been extracted. The machines pictured would spin sliced beets in boiling water… it was a sealed system before someone cut holes on sides of each unit.

Lockers

Lockers for the boiler room workers.

Silo I

At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.

Not Your Corner Office

Outside the locker room without the sandwiches and beer… plenty of glass shards, though, if you feel like it.

Carved: PAIGE

In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.

The Danger Line

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.

Campaign Tracker

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.

Consumer’s Grand Stair

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.

Rock Crusher

These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.

Conveyor Roofs

One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.

ADM-Delmar #4- Top of the World

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.

Last Trace of Mitchell, Minn.

The last trace of Mitchell, Minnesota is a pile of cans on the side of the main street, Mitchell Avenue. These will be recognizable for another century or so, for future history-minded explorers.

Down the Boom

Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.

Presses

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.

RotoGrate Technicolor

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.

ADM-Delmar #4- Basement Bell

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.

Mill 43

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.

The Freedom – Brahm

A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.

Rundblick

A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!

A Century at Lyric

After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.

354

Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.

Port Sluice Sprays

Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.

Turbine Casing

The end of one of the scrapped turbines. Judging by the aborted attempt at cutting it in half, the scrappers had some trouble with this one.

Forklift

Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.

Rubber-Lined Cars

Because the shaft is nearly vertical, rocks riding inside shift a lot. To keep them from breaking down the door and raining into the shaft.

I-Beam Extending Into Basement

Holes were cut into the floor to extract equipment from the basements. it was interesting to see the I-beams extending through all the levels of Studebaker.

Storage Vault Door

One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.

Spiral Staircase

This picture is perhaps the most appropriate in its visual depiction of how unstable the mill was. 1. Note the lack of stairs on the spiral staircase; they’re rusted and twisted apart, not simply cut off. 2. Notice the cracked concrete on the lower left corner; that was cracking as I was standing on it taking this photo, and don’t think there’s anything under that to begin to stop one’s fall. 3. You’re looking into an open elevator shaft; its safety cage is sliced away and wide open.

Green Wall

The original color of the wall was probably green.

Crank on Dock 4

Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.

Revised History

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.

Cooperage

One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.

Spinners

A closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.

Floatation Floor

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.

Two Scrubbers

The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.

Quincey Flywheels

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.

Eagle Mills’ Rusty Fasade

Blue skies and rust-pocked siding contrast the high-altitude blue sky. By the time I had worked my way back to the tram, it was sunset.

Dock 5L

One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.

Silk Thrower

The porcelain hoops guided the silk threads through the device.

Snowed In Dryhouse

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.

Escape Hatch

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.

Industry + Aurora

A nice view of the aurora borealis (“Northern Lights”) strong enough to outshine the industrial lighting at the power plant. The lights in the foreground direct ships discharging coal for the station.

Assurgere

Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.

Blast Door II

One of the many blast doors. Note the plunger to seal off the airflow in the event of an attack or accidental explosion.

MPE3- 3 Ship

A broken window looking through the First Aid Room and into the Control Room in charge of directing grain into ships. You can see one of the large conveyors on the right, clad in green. Chutes and staircases intertwine seemingly randomly through the big empty spaces.

Engine Room Arch

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.

Abriss einer Stadt

Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.

John Buzz

A fallen branch smashed out this skylight years ago, and since then the bees have found this tiny toilet a perfect home. This is part of the hotel where employees slept.

Furnace 59

The ’59’ is just a reference to that work station. Unfortunately the scrappers beat me to this machine–there was not much left besides the 2-ton shell and this control panel.

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