There were bins with hundreds of spools in them in the basement.
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.
A natural reaction with this kind of view.
Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
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.
Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.
Two counterweighted elevators moved men between the surface, mine, and underground mill.
Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
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.
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 at the tallest part of the plant from a skeletal loading dock. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
The the left, the nitrating line in War City. To the right, War City’s sole suburb, Charlestown, IN.
The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
A sheik mustard-yellow paint scheme across the roofless engine house goes great with the industrial moss and rust.
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.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
A bank of vertical filing cabinets, probably dating to National Guard days.
The old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.
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.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
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.
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.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
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.
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.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
A high-ceilinged room where kegs would be delivered for cleaning, before they were refilled with fresh booze.
Chutes from a hundred machines interconnect to more machines and chutes on a dozen factory floors.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
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.
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.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
This section of the hospital recently collapsed.
The Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
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.
A switch for the yard engines, now on the edge of the property where nobody will find 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.
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.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
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 side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
Looking through the center of a scrapped generator, its copper long scrapped.
Scrappers tried to take this steel pulley out of Fisher, but it proved too heavy.
I wonder what this guy is thinking, walking through the complex.
These corner pilings served as bumpers… a little assurance against wind, ice, and new captains.
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 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.
Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.
Old boathouses near the dock.
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.
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.
This is where the lime would spill out.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
One of the many blast doors. Note the plunger to seal off the airflow in the event of an attack or accidental explosion.
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
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 line of huge machines wait to be used as parts under a long-disused belt drive.
This is a 1956 furnace. It was used to forge wheels, casings, and parts for the axel shop.
A closeup inside the mill’s power room.
Part of the Pillsbury tunnel that brought water back to the Mississippi River.
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
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).
Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
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.
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
The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
This mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.
Behind the factory was an old truck, blocked in by overgrown trees on one side and the buildings on the other.
Much of the milling equipment predated the mill itself, so I would not be surprised if this particular machine really dates to 1860.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
Looking up the rock house.
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.
One of the many fireproof bridges connecting the factory sections, one way to prevent fires from spreading throughout the plant.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
A strange arcade machine in the basement.
This wheel scoops the washings from the sluice room and places it on the tailings conveyor.
Outside the locker room without the sandwiches and beer… plenty of glass shards, though, if you feel like it.
A pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
Fire doors and penis talk.
The original metal sign over the porticos.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.
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.
Off the beaten path is this old LTV sign. Now it points to a ghost town and dead dock.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
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 volcano (?) under a window.
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.
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.
Interlocking bricks at the mouth of the stoker-less boiler.
The factory was utterly vertical.
Where workers would sign documents and collect their pay.
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.
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.
Part of the back of the distribution boards; the rear of a giant remote transformer switch.
A typical wall in the base.
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).
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
The gold mine is now a gravel pit.
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.
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.
Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.
Captured bolts for a pressure cooker on an industrial scale.
Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.
On the dark side of the workhouse at sunset, you can almost see where the walls used to be. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
“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.”
I love the ‘hats’ on the top of the SWP-4 headhouse. FP-100C.
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.
A ship passes the abandoned dock on its way to Duluth. Taconite dust stains the sides of its hull red.
Behind the evaporators are heavy access hatches to inspect the steam pipes within.
A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.
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.
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.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
Atop Elevator ‘M’, formerly Cargill ‘O’.
A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.
These copulas made the iron for casting.
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.
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.
This picture typifies the industrial ideal of the early 20th century. More metal than air. More efficiency than beauty. More profits than people.
A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.
A printing press in the attic of the Reception Hospital.
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.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
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.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
A closeup of the now-scrapped steel chute.
Looking out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.
Another ruined spiral staircase in the mill.
The fantastic Art Deco portico over the main entrance to the concourse.
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.
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.
This low brick building is interesting to me.
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.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
Old hospital beds.
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.
Colors of the boiler room.
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.
Part of the grain drier system in ADM #1 crawls up the side of the building like a steel vine.
The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
The Dock 5 sign at track level. Probably as an aid to sailors reboarding their vessels.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.
Furnace #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
Because there’s no Port-a-John underground.
Drawn in fresh concrete about 50 years before I took this picture, and only 2 years after this elevator blew up…
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.
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.
Under the monster and its teeth.
The stairs of this elevator had their landings removed long ago to keep vandals grounded.
A closeup of a flour chute.
Standing next to the now-demolished records room.
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.
It’s never a good sign when the windows are boarded from the inside.
The powered lime hopper had a lot of levels.
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.
The porcelain hoops guided the silk threads through the device.
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.
Two small generators connected to a Frick steam engine.
A closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.
A closeup of a soon-to-be-scrapped crane pulley.
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.
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 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.
Workers’ lockers, strewn across Main Street, yet still out of the way.
The original color of the wall was probably green.
At the top of a skyway that brought fresh-dried cotton into the Nitrating House from the Cotton Dry House. How? Monorail, of course.
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.
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.
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
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.
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.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
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.
Spare firebox bricks palleted on the second floor, is if it was going to be repaired.