Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
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.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
The front door to the auditorium.
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
Off the beaten path is this old LTV sign. Now it points to a ghost town and dead dock.
The two exhaust vents coming out from the boilers en route to the stacks. Plywood marks where where catwalks were removed to extract equipment.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
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.
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
A collapsing and unstable building.
The control room for the whole of the plant. Sinterband here means one of the sintering lines. Temperatures, gasses, mixtures, speeds, and so on were centrally controlled here.
Two small generators connected to a Frick steam engine.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
The woman in the wall has the bed; is pulling it in; is holding you down…
A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.
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 picture shows the challenges of moving around underground in the base.
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.
The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
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.
These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.
Looking out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.
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.
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.
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
The pilot house, lit with the lights of Superior.
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 Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
Looking through the trestle toward the ghost town.
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.
On the dark side of the workhouse at sunset, you can almost see where the walls used to be. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
Because there’s no Port-a-John underground.
Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.
The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.
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.
Two counterweighted elevators moved men between the surface, mine, and underground mill.
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.
This tunnel goes to the adit over the Eagle River Mills. I bet those carts go fast down here!
The gold mine is now a gravel pit.
“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.”
This picture typifies the industrial ideal of the early 20th century. More metal than air. More efficiency than beauty. More profits than people.
Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.
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 #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
Pocket door and light switches in the upper control room, at the top of the spiral staircase.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
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.
Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.
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.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
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.
Part of the grain drier system in ADM #1 crawls up the side of the building like a steel vine.
An original, minimally remodeled bathroom above the cafeteria reminds us what the whole complex once looked like.
I believe this is the push car, meaning it would push the charge in the oven out the opposite side into the train car.
This wheel scoops the washings from the sluice room and places it on the tailings conveyor.
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 winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
A strange arcade machine in the basement.
The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
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.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
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.
Colors of the boiler room.
The porcelain hoops guided the silk threads through the device.
A typical wall in the base.
I found a face.
Spare firebox bricks palleted on the second floor, is if it was going to be repaired.
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.
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 elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.
Much of the milling equipment predated the mill itself, so I would not be surprised if this particular machine really dates to 1860.
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.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
This is where the lime would spill out.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
A pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
A closeup of the now-scrapped steel chute.
Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
Drawn in fresh concrete about 50 years before I took this picture, and only 2 years after this elevator blew up…
A natural reaction with this kind of view.
A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.
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 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.
A new loading shed to fill train cars.
A volcano (?) under a window.
Looking at the tallest part of the plant from a skeletal loading dock. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.
The stairs of this elevator had their landings removed long ago to keep vandals grounded.
An emergency slide to help workers evacuate the blending house in an emergency.
The original color of the wall was probably green.
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.
The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
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.
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
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.
Stained windows and sheet metal catch the sunset from across the Ohio River.
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.
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.
At the top of a skyway that brought fresh-dried cotton into the Nitrating House from the Cotton Dry House. How? Monorail, of course.
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.
Funny how sensitive modern English speakers have become to gendered language. I doubt the workers here–almost all female–were offended by this posting for ‘Workmen’s Compensation’.
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
Quincy Smelter, 2014.
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.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
The bridge here moved workers between the dock, the approach tracks, and refueling buildings.
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.
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.
I love the ‘hats’ on the top of the SWP-4 headhouse. FP-100C.
#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.
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 mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.
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.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
Captured bolts for a pressure cooker on an industrial scale.
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.
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 diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
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.
I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
Part of the Pillsbury tunnel that brought water back to the Mississippi River.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.
A high-ceilinged room where kegs would be delivered for cleaning, before they were refilled with fresh booze.
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.
This is a 1956 furnace. It was used to forge wheels, casings, and parts for the axel shop.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
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.
Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.
A rooftop scene.
Old hospital beds.
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.
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.
I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.
The surgical suite was flooding.
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.
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).
A multi-family home with an attic bedroom. The staircase was unstable, to say the least.
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.
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 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 side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
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 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.
A closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.
In the nitrating house.
A printing press in the attic of the Reception Hospital.
A closeup inside the mill’s power room.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded machines.
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.
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.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
Iron becoming dirt becoming birches.
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.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
The factory was utterly vertical.
Looking up the rock house.
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).
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.
I wonder what this guy is thinking, walking through the complex.
The steel sea leg is so heavy it requires a huge counterweight that travels the height of the elevator.
Outside the locker room without the sandwiches and beer… plenty of glass shards, though, if you feel like it.
The coal crusher (above) and the conveyor (left) to bring the powdered coal to furnace hoppers (right).
In the far back of the cellars there are some old bottles. This arch shows an old entrance to the cellars, now collapsed.
A closeup of a soon-to-be-scrapped crane pulley.
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
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
These machines are at least 100 years old.
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.
The tops of the coke stoves.
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.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
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.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
Workers’ lockers, strewn across Main Street, yet still out of the way.
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.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
Blending the explosive ingredients was dangerous. It is no wonder that the blending house had so many emergency slides.
It will be a good harvest.