The old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
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.
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 stairs of this elevator had their landings removed long ago to keep vandals grounded.
Under the monster and its teeth.
A closeup of a soon-to-be-scrapped crane pulley.
Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.
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.
A new loading shed to fill train cars.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
A washout two thirds of the way down the tram gave me a place to relax in the thin air.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
This mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.
These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.
A one-of-a-kind installation in Armour’s otherwise gutted engine house.
This tunnel goes to the adit over the Eagle River Mills. I bet those carts go fast down here!
A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.
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.
Looking through the trestle toward the ghost town.
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.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
Looking across the catwalk attache to the elevated control room, in charge of the train dumping part of the operation.
A closeup of the now-scrapped steel chute.
I like this picture because it shows some of the only unbroken windows at Packard.
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.
Old boathouses near the dock.
The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
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 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.
The surgical suite was flooding.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
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.
Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.
Looking at the tallest part of the plant from a skeletal loading dock. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.
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.
One of the many blast doors. Note the plunger to seal off the airflow in the event of an attack or accidental explosion.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.
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.
The gold mine is now a gravel pit.
Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.
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.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
It’s never a good sign when the windows are boarded from the inside.
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
Fire doors and penis talk.
Asbestos-cord-wrapped glass tongs piled in a shed next to the pouring line.
This wheel scoops the washings from the sluice room and places it on the tailings conveyor.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
A switch for the yard engines, now on the edge of the property where nobody will find it.
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.
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
The bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
Pocket door and light switches in the upper control room, at the top of the spiral staircase.
The factory was utterly vertical.
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.
This ruined skyway looks like it should be at ground level because of the growth, but it’s actually the second floor of the building.
Interlocking bricks at the mouth of the stoker-less boiler.
HDR matrix panorama. Looking from the grain elevators, now doomed, toward the city between the flour mill’s water tower and tile elevator’s neon sign, the old and new economies seem almost united. Yet the financial centers rise in reality to shadow the now-abandoned industry and manufacturing. The way of things, I’m told.
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.
The bridge here moved workers between the dock, the approach tracks, and refueling buildings.
Quincy Smelter, 2014.
An original stencil-brushed sign.
Another ruined spiral staircase in the mill.
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.
Off the beaten path is this old LTV sign. Now it points to a ghost town and dead dock.
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
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.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
Old hospital beds.
Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.
Numbers on a pillar counted tank capacity for a removed water container; an unhinged door in an unhinged factory beguiles those looking for an exit.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
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.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
A volcano (?) under a window.
The corner of the elevator… lumber armored with steel for fireproofing and water resistance.
Mounted in an office.
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.
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.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
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 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 through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
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.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
Levers and indicators to control and track the path of mine cars moving up and down the mine shaft. Note the mine depth indicators would trace paper… this is because the steel cables stretch out over time, so the line length changes with the years.
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.
The pipes in the boiler would be full of water, so the heat in the furnace.
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.
Without a roof, the bricks were being washed away in the later years of the roundhouse.
I wonder what this guy is thinking, walking through the complex.
This rod mill (?) was made in Denver Colorado at a factory now buried by condos. #justdenverthings
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.
The side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
A pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
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 control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
This section of the hospital recently collapsed.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
The south wall of the power plant. Its sheet metal skin couldn’t fit around the structure, it seems… note the very strange protruding superstructure.
“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.”
The powered lime hopper had a lot of levels.
Aaron by the concentrator.
A printing press in the attic of the Reception Hospital.
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.
Spare firebox bricks palleted on the second floor, is if it was going to be repaired.
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.
This movable chute came off its rails.
Standing next to the now-demolished records room.
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.
Colors of the boiler room.
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
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.
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.
A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.
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.
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.
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).
When I moved from the roof back into the upper floors of the distillery, the plants growing out of the masonry caught my eye. It’s 60 feet up, but looks like it could be an old wall.
It will be a good harvest.
Behind the evaporators are heavy access hatches to inspect the steam pipes within.
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
The two exhaust vents coming out from the boilers en route to the stacks. Plywood marks where where catwalks were removed to extract equipment.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
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 rear of the complex shows the more than 100 year old workhouse–still working! I do not know if the tanks are original to the 1901 elevator, but I suspect so.
A typical wall in the base.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
Behind the factory was an old truck, blocked in by overgrown trees on one side and the buildings on the other.
The elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
Part of the back of the distribution boards; the rear of a giant remote transformer switch.
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.
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 picture typifies the industrial ideal of the early 20th century. More metal than air. More efficiency than beauty. More profits than people.
The front door to the auditorium.
The pilot house, lit with the lights of Superior.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
In the mine offices, hooks and a board with numbers was the system to keep track of who was in the mine and who was safe.
This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.
Looking through the center of a scrapped generator, its copper long scrapped.
A colorful makeshift wall.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.
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.
The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
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.
Workers’ lockers, strewn across Main Street, yet still out of the way.
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 fantastic Art Deco portico over the main entrance to the concourse.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
Part of the grain drier system in ADM #1 crawls up the side of the building like a steel vine.
The original color of the wall was probably green.
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.
This picture gives you the idea of how the boat-loading control rooms are set up; they lean over the dock and Lake Superior to be able to see down into the holds of the boats… important, considering how quickly it loaded the boats! An uneven load could put stress on the hull of a laker, increasing the risk it will break and sink.
Mammoth Mine overlooks Central City from atop Mammoth Hill. In the distance you can make out Coeur d’Alene Mine (red), which operated from 1885 through 1940.
The coal crusher (above) and the conveyor (left) to bring the powdered coal to furnace hoppers (right).
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.
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.
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.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
#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.
Looking out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.
I believe this is the push car, meaning it would push the charge in the oven out the opposite side into the train car.
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.
Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.
A dead work truck rusts near an outbuilding. Everything is marked with a code. Modernity.
A massive steel sheer’s equally massive drive cog. Imagine the force.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
A strange arcade machine in the basement.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
The original metal sign over the porticos.
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.
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.
In the nitrating house.
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.
This is a 1956 furnace. It was used to forge wheels, casings, and parts for the axel shop.
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.
Two small generators connected to a Frick steam engine.
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.