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.
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.
Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.
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.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
In the far back of the cellars there are some old bottles. This arch shows an old entrance to the cellars, now collapsed.
Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.
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.
Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.
Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.
Looking through the trestle toward the ghost town.
One evening I spent an hour lighting tea candles through the tunnels below the elevator. It was a magical transformation.
Scrappers tried to take this steel pulley out of Fisher, but it proved too heavy.
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.
Spare firebox bricks palleted on the second floor, is if it was going to be repaired.
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.
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 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.
From an unsteady perch atop the blast furnace, the morning light began to leach into the complex below.
The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
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 dead work truck rusts near an outbuilding. Everything is marked with a code. Modernity.
A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.
Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
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
Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.
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.
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.
The surgical suite was flooding.
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.
Old boathouses near the dock.
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.
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
The powered lime hopper had a lot of levels.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
A printing press in the attic of the Reception Hospital.
…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
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.
This wheel scoops the washings from the sluice room and places it on the tailings conveyor.
The bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
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 huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.
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.
The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.
The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
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.
A ship passes the abandoned dock on its way to Duluth. Taconite dust stains the sides of its hull red.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
A closeup of the now-scrapped steel chute.
Looking at the tallest part of the plant from a skeletal loading dock. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
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.
A collapsing and unstable building.
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).
This spiral staircase isn’t doing Lemp much good–maybe they’ll let me have it! I do love, though, that there is a door going to it–without walls–and it ascends to a second floor that doesn’t exactly exist anymore.
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.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.
I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.
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.
A rooftop scene.
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
The old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
Another ruined spiral staircase in the mill.
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.
Outside the locker room without the sandwiches and beer… plenty of glass shards, though, if you feel like it.
The American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
A strange arcade machine in the basement.
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.
Standing next to the now-demolished records room.
On the dark side of the workhouse at sunset, you can almost see where the walls used to be. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
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.
An emergency slide to help workers evacuate the blending house in an emergency.
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.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
Under the monster and its teeth.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
Behind the factory was an old truck, blocked in by overgrown trees on one side and the buildings on the other.
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.
It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
A dead belt-o-vator.
The tops of the coke stoves.
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 side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
The Dock 5 sign at track level. Probably as an aid to sailors reboarding their vessels.
Chutes from a hundred machines interconnect to more machines and chutes on a dozen factory floors.
The Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
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.
Fire doors and penis talk.
In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.
I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
This picture shows the challenges of moving around underground in the base.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
Atop Elevator ‘M’, formerly Cargill ‘O’.
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.
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 front door to the auditorium.
Two counterweighted elevators moved men between the surface, mine, and underground mill.
A colorful makeshift wall.
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 tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
The factory was utterly vertical.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
A closeup of a flour chute.
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.
An original, minimally remodeled bathroom above the cafeteria reminds us what the whole complex once looked like.
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.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
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.
An original stencil-brushed sign.
This mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.
A one-of-a-kind installation in Armour’s otherwise gutted engine house.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
This is a 1956 furnace. It was used to forge wheels, casings, and parts for the axel shop.
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.
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.
Part of the Pillsbury tunnel that brought water back to the Mississippi River.
One of the many blast doors. Note the plunger to seal off the airflow in the event of an attack or accidental explosion.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
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.
Aaron by the concentrator.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
In the nitrating house.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
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.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
Part of the back of the distribution boards; the rear of a giant remote transformer switch.
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.
Behind the evaporators are heavy access hatches to inspect the steam pipes within.
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’.
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 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 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.
I believe this is the push car, meaning it would push the charge in the oven out the opposite side into the train car.
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.
This is where the lime would spill out.
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.
The last batch of molded metal stuck in the chute, this metallurgical furnace was falling apart brick by disintegrating brick b the time I got to it. On the upper floors there is a sophisticated network of vents and chimneys to make these little furnaces as hot as possible.
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.
It will be a good harvest.
A wimpy crane by most standards, only suitable for moving around parts of steam turbines.
A volcano (?) under a window.
The stairs of this elevator had their landings removed long ago to keep vandals grounded.
A massive steel sheer’s equally massive drive cog. Imagine the force.
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
This steel cup on the card would move molten copper to the caster from the furnace.
A little sheet metal box somehow made it back home.
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.
This tunnel goes to the adit over the Eagle River Mills. I bet those carts go fast down here!
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.
A closeup of a soon-to-be-scrapped crane pulley.
Looking through the center of a scrapped generator, its copper long scrapped.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
Blending the explosive ingredients was dangerous. It is no wonder that the blending house had so many emergency slides.
This picture typifies the industrial ideal of the early 20th century. More metal than air. More efficiency than beauty. More profits than people.
Iron becoming dirt becoming birches.
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.
The pipes in the boiler would be full of water, so the heat in the furnace.
In case of fire, workers on higher floors would take the emergency slides to escape.
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 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.
A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.
A washout two thirds of the way down the tram gave me a place to relax in the thin air.
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.
Much of the milling equipment predated the mill itself, so I would not be surprised if this particular machine really dates to 1860.
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.
Looking into the Pool 8 Annex from the original Ogilvie’s elevator.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
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.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
This section of the hospital recently collapsed.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
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.
“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.”
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.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
I love the ‘hats’ on the top of the SWP-4 headhouse. FP-100C.
These corner pilings served as bumpers… a little assurance against wind, ice, and new captains.
The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
The elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
Drawn in fresh concrete about 50 years before I took this picture, and only 2 years after this elevator blew up…
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
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.
Pocket door and light switches in the upper control room, at the top of the spiral staircase.