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’.
Looking at the tallest part of the plant from a skeletal loading dock. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
A natural reaction with this kind of view.
This steel cup on the card would move molten copper to the caster from the furnace.
The powered lime hopper had a lot of levels.
Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.
These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.
One of a few dozen steel bed frames left in the rubble of the collapsing building.
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
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.
The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
Outside the locker room without the sandwiches and beer… plenty of glass shards, though, if you feel like it.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
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.
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.
Quincy Smelter, 2014.
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 bridge here moved workers between the dock, the approach tracks, and refueling buildings.
Off the beaten path is this old LTV sign. Now it points to a ghost town and dead dock.
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.
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
The American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
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.
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.
Two counterweighted elevators moved men between the surface, mine, and underground mill.
These copulas made the iron for casting.
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.
Where workers would sign documents and collect their pay.
This tunnel goes to the adit over the Eagle River Mills. I bet those carts go fast down here!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blending the explosive ingredients was dangerous. It is no wonder that the blending house had so many emergency slides.
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.
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.
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.
Colors of the boiler room.
Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.
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.
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.
Looking down the kiln line from atop the furnaces.
From an unsteady perch atop the blast furnace, the morning light began to leach into the complex below.
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.
Scrappers tried to take this steel pulley out of Fisher, but it proved too heavy.
A bank of vertical filing cabinets, probably dating to National Guard days.
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.
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.
A collapsing and unstable building.
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 original metal sign over the porticos.
In the far back of the cellars there are some old bottles. This arch shows an old entrance to the cellars, now collapsed.
A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.
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.
A rooftop scene.
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded machines.
It will be a good harvest.
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.
Fire doors and penis talk.
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the 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.
The bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
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.
Workers’ lockers, strewn across Main Street, yet still out of the way.
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.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
A washout two thirds of the way down the tram gave me a place to relax in the thin air.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
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.
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.
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.
The the left, the nitrating line in War City. To the right, War City’s sole suburb, Charlestown, IN.
Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.
The pilot house, lit with the lights of Superior.
In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.
A line of huge machines wait to be used as parts under a long-disused belt drive.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
The factory was utterly vertical.
It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
This low brick building is interesting to me.
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
Part of the back of the distribution boards; the rear of a giant remote transformer switch.
A closeup of the now-scrapped steel chute.
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 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.
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 pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
The original color of the wall was probably green.
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 colorful makeshift wall.
A dead belt-o-vator.
A closeup of a soon-to-be-scrapped crane pulley.
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.
The Dock 5 sign at track level. Probably as an aid to sailors reboarding their vessels.
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.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
Much of the milling equipment predated the mill itself, so I would not be surprised if this particular machine really dates to 1860.
Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
The woman in the wall has the bed; is pulling it in; is holding you down…
Aaron by the concentrator.
Mounted in an office.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
Old hospital beds.
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.
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.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
I couldn’t help but include this ghost sign for a demolished motel…
Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
A little sheet metal box somehow made it back home.
Behind the factory was an old truck, blocked in by overgrown trees on one side and the buildings on the other.
Looking across the catwalk attache to the elevated control room, in charge of the train dumping part of the operation.
The pipes in the boiler would be full of water, so the heat in the furnace.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
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.
A massive steel sheer’s equally massive drive cog. Imagine the force.
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).
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.
An original, minimally remodeled bathroom above the cafeteria reminds us what the whole complex once looked like.
Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.
A closeup inside the mill’s power room.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
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.
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.
A switch for the yard engines, now on the edge of the property where nobody will find it.
The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.
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.
The porcelain hoops guided the silk threads through the device.
A wimpy crane by most standards, only suitable for moving around parts of steam turbines.
A closeup of a flour chute.
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.
Interlocking bricks at the mouth of the stoker-less boiler.
Without a roof, the bricks were being washed away in the later years of the roundhouse.
Furnace #7, as seen from #6’s catwalks. Cue morning fog.
This picture typifies the industrial ideal of the early 20th century. More metal than air. More efficiency than beauty. More profits than people.
This wheel scoops the washings from the sluice room and places it on the tailings conveyor.
A sheik mustard-yellow paint scheme across the roofless engine house goes great with the industrial moss and rust.
Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.
The elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
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 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 surgical suite was flooding.
I like this picture because it shows some of the only unbroken windows at Packard.
This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.
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.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
There were bins with hundreds of spools in them in the basement.
The coal crusher (above) and the conveyor (left) to bring the powdered coal to furnace hoppers (right).
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
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.
In the nitrating house.
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.
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.
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.
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 big rusty sphere hides behind the incomplete 5-stack.
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.
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.
This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.
Drawn in fresh concrete about 50 years before I took this picture, and only 2 years after this elevator blew up…
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 shows the challenges of moving around underground in the base.
Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
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.
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.
A dead work truck rusts near an outbuilding. Everything is marked with a code. Modernity.
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.
Spare firebox bricks palleted on the second floor, is if it was going to be repaired.
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 old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
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.
A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.
Old boathouses near the dock.
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.
“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.”
A strange arcade machine in the basement.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
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).
Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.