Drawn in fresh concrete about 50 years before I took this picture, and only 2 years after this elevator blew up…
Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
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.
A line of huge machines wait to be used as parts under a long-disused belt drive.
Part of the back of the distribution boards; the rear of a giant remote transformer switch.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
A rooftop scene.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
Colors of the boiler room.
These copulas made the iron for casting.
One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.
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.
This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.
A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.
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.
A washout two thirds of the way down the tram gave me a place to relax in the thin air.
The elevator is stuck between floors.
Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.
The the left, the nitrating line in War City. To the right, War City’s sole suburb, Charlestown, IN.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
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.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
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.
Atop Elevator ‘M’, formerly Cargill ‘O’.
There were bins with hundreds of spools in them in the basement.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
An emergency slide to help workers evacuate the blending house in an emergency.
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.
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
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.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
Levers and indicators to control and track the path of mine cars moving up and down the mine shaft. Note the mine depth indicators would trace paper… this is because the steel cables stretch out over time, so the line length changes with the years.
A closeup of a flour chute.
The middle section of the smokestacks were coal hoppers, and this device would load the coal into the hoppers from the conveyor belt it rode across. The bottom section of the stacks were storage rooms while the very top were, surprise, chimneys for the power plant.
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.
A closeup inside the mill’s power room.
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 American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
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 first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
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 gold mine is now a gravel pit.
Because there’s no Port-a-John underground.
A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.
A sheik mustard-yellow paint scheme across the roofless engine house goes great with the industrial moss and rust.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
The old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
An old stoker in a power plant that was abandoned long before the mill next to it, by all indications. Sugar mills burned dry beet pulp pellets for fuel.
The 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.
Standing next to the now-demolished records room.
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.
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.
Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.
This mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.
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.
Much of the milling equipment predated the mill itself, so I would not be surprised if this particular machine really dates to 1860.
A printing press in the attic of the Reception Hospital.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
Mounted in an office.
It’s never a good sign when the windows are boarded from the inside.
A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.
A new loading shed to fill train cars.
The corner of the elevator… lumber armored with steel for fireproofing and water resistance.
The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
A little sheet metal box somehow made it back home.
A pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.
The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
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.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
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 coal crusher (above) and the conveyor (left) to bring the powdered coal to furnace hoppers (right).
At sunset the light skips from puddle to stagnant puddle across the whole foundry room, playing with the classic sawtooth roof with half-hearted shadows.
The front door to the auditorium.
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.
Under the monster and its teeth.
Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.
It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
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.
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
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 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.
The two exhaust vents coming out from the boilers en route to the stacks. Plywood marks where where catwalks were removed to extract equipment.
Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
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.
The elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
This big rusty sphere hides behind the incomplete 5-stack.
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.
A strange arcade machine in the basement.
This section of the hospital recently collapsed.
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.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
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 fantastic Art Deco portico over the main entrance to the concourse.
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 low brick building is interesting to me.
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.
A closeup of a soon-to-be-scrapped crane pulley.
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.
I love the ‘hats’ on the top of the SWP-4 headhouse. FP-100C.
A dead belt-o-vator.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
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.
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.
#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.
Part of the grain drier system in ADM #1 crawls up the side of the building like a steel vine.
I found a face.
This steel cup on the card would move molten copper to the caster from the furnace.
From the slip where grain boats would tie for loading and unloading, the unloader juts in a modernist-architectural way that is oddly visibly satisfying. Inside that white building is the retracted boat unloader, more or less a long and sturdy conveyor attached to a joint and crane motor. There used to be four loaders that looked like simple tubes with cranes and ropes attached hanging from this side of the elevator. All that remains of those is one fixture on the white building (not visible here) and the frame of one on the elevator proper, visible in the upper-middle of this image, to the right of the unloader apparatus.
The surgical suite was flooding.
A typical wall in the base.
This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.
Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.
“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.”
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
Another ruined spiral staircase in the mill.
A natural reaction with this kind of view.
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
Looking up the rock house.
Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.
The bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
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 massive steel sheer’s equally massive drive cog. Imagine the force.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Looking across the catwalk attache to the elevated control room, in charge of the train dumping part of the operation.
A colorful makeshift wall.
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.
Old hospital beds.
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
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.
Scrappers tried to take this steel pulley out of Fisher, but it proved too heavy.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
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.
An original, minimally remodeled bathroom above the cafeteria reminds us what the whole complex once looked like.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
Captured bolts for a pressure cooker on an industrial scale.
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.
A one-of-a-kind installation in Armour’s otherwise gutted engine house.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
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.
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 powerhouse was notably older than the rest of the complex. I’m still not sure if it was build just for the cooperage, or whether it preceded it.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
Jet Lowe is my inspiration.
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.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
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.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
A collapsing and unstable building.
The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.
The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
A closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.
I couldn’t help but include this ghost sign for a demolished motel…
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
A dead work truck rusts near an outbuilding. Everything is marked with a code. Modernity.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
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.
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.
I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
This is where the lime would spill out.
One of the many fireproof bridges connecting the factory sections, one way to prevent fires from spreading throughout the plant.
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.
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.
A closeup of the now-scrapped steel chute.
The Dock 5 sign at track level. Probably as an aid to sailors reboarding their vessels.
The bridge here moved workers between the dock, the approach tracks, and refueling buildings.
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.
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.
In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.
A ship passes the abandoned dock on its way to Duluth. Taconite dust stains the sides of its hull red.
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 typifies the industrial ideal of the early 20th century. More metal than air. More efficiency than beauty. More profits than people.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
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.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
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.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
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’.