rusty

Frick

Two small generators connected to a Frick steam engine.

Building 10

I like this picture because it shows some of the only unbroken windows at Packard.

Blending House XXX

An emergency slide to help workers evacuate the blending house in an emergency.

Hanging Duct

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.

Emergency Slide

In case of fire, workers on higher floors would take the emergency slides to escape.

Operator’s Chair

The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.

Silos Like a Sunset

“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.”

Right of Way

A washout two thirds of the way down the tram gave me a place to relax in the thin air.

Hoist Room Panorama

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.

Fermenter Sixteen

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.

Furnace 59

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.

Two Scrubbers

The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.

Campaign Tracker

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.

Bed Rest

Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.

Cooperage

One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.

Fire Slide

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.

Mammoth Mine, Mammoth Hill

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.

Blast Door II

One of the many blast doors. Note the plunger to seal off the airflow in the event of an attack or accidental explosion.

Studebaker in HDR

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.

Puffer by Bibio

The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.

Cave Brewery Entrance

In the far back of the cellars there are some old bottles. This arch shows an old entrance to the cellars, now collapsed.

The Original Tumblr

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.

354

Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.

197

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.

Barge Loader

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.

Rundblick

A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!

Gas Pump

Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.

Rubber-Lined Cars

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.

Avanti Elevator

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.

Adobe Window

It’s never a good sign when the windows are boarded from the inside.

Moss

I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.

God Loves Lime

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.

Three Pulls to Freefall

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.

Copperless Dynamo

Looking through the center of a scrapped generator, its copper long scrapped.

Quincey Flywheels

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.

STOPlease

The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.

Dryhouse

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.

Workhouse III

This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.

Almost There

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.

Signals

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.

Elevator Shaft

The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.

Shadows of Taconite Harbor on the James R. Barker

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.

Mine Levels

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.

Workhouse I

On the dark side of the workhouse at sunset, you can almost see where the walls used to be. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.

Overhang

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.

Silo I

At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.

Production Floor Clock

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.

1917 Mill

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.

Cascade Room

Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.

Down For Repair

Behind the evaporators are heavy access hatches to inspect the steam pipes within.

Snaking Stack

A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.

Engine Room Arch

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.

Conveyor Roofs

One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.

Workshop

Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.

Evaporator

Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.

Keeper’s Station Quarters

This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.

Turbine Bottom

Part of the Pillsbury tunnel that brought water back to the Mississippi River.

Feb Forever – Brahm

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.

Shaft No. 1 Hoisting Motor

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.

Silk Spools

There were bins with hundreds of spools in them in the basement.

Sea Leg Motor

The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.

Tunnel Tiles

These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.

Crank on Dock 4

Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.

Not Your Corner Office

Outside the locker room without the sandwiches and beer… plenty of glass shards, though, if you feel like it.

Rooftop Panorama

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.

Mine Evacuation Alarm

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.

Eagle Mills

Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.

Rock Crusher

These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.

The Chief Lady

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

Lime Silo

The powered lime hopper had a lot of levels.

Two Vents at Four

The two exhaust vents coming out from the boilers en route to the stacks. Plywood marks where where catwalks were removed to extract equipment.

Shaft No. 3 Hoist Shell

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.

LP Hand Warmer

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

Lighthouse Basement

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.

Basement Bed

One of a few dozen steel bed frames left in the rubble of the collapsing building.

Metal Sheer Cogs

A massive steel sheer’s equally massive drive cog. Imagine the force.

Mill 43

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.

101-B

An original stencil-brushed sign.

Coke Batter B Control

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.

Mine Level Indicator

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.

Silk Thrower

The porcelain hoops guided the silk threads through the device.

Portico Details

The fantastic Art Deco portico over the main entrance to the concourse.

A Century at Lyric

After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.

Tealight Conveyor

One evening I spent an hour lighting tea candles through the tunnels below the elevator. It was a magical transformation.

Flooded Ford Mine Room

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.

Inside Eagle Mine III

This tunnel goes to the adit over the Eagle River Mills. I bet those carts go fast down here!

Midock

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.

Mill Tram

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.

Forklift

Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.

Vintage X-Ray

A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.

The Freedom – Brahm

A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.

Fisher Locker

#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.

Cables, Gangways, and Booms

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.

Payroll

Where workers would sign documents and collect their pay.

In the Trommel

Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.

Crystalizer 5

A line of huge machines wait to be used as parts under a long-disused belt drive.

Machine Shop Crane

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.

Dock 5L

One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.

Ghost Truck

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.

By Pass Stokerside

A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.

Herb 54 (Worker Graffiti)

Drawn in fresh concrete about 50 years before I took this picture, and only 2 years after this elevator blew up…

Cloverleaf Smelter Boilers

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.

Turbine Casing

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.

Basket I

Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.

Geometric Fantasy

The coal crusher (above) and the conveyor (left) to bring the powdered coal to furnace hoppers (right).

Trommel

The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.

Westinghouse Stokers

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.

Time Cards

A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.

Spare Parts II

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.

35 Ton Crane

A wimpy crane by most standards, only suitable for moving around parts of steam turbines.

Skeletal Skyway

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.

Asbestos Alley

This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.

Prize Mine, Facing Dogtown

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.

Abandoned Switch

A switch for the yard engines, now on the edge of the property where nobody will find it.

Spinners

A closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.

American Crane

A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.

Find Texture

Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.

Mine Elevator

Two counterweighted elevators moved men between the surface, mine, and underground mill.

Electric Steel- Workhouse

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.

Cupola Closeup

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.

Paint Shop

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.

Headframe Eyes

Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.

Dynamo

A closeup inside the mill’s power room.

Lyons Boiler

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.

Old Bathroom

An original, minimally remodeled bathroom above the cafeteria reminds us what the whole complex once looked like.

From the Old Mill

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.

Kernel Crusher

When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.

Port Sluice Sprays

Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.

Milwaukee Road Boxcar

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.

Cotton Monorail Two

At the top of a skyway that brought fresh-dried cotton into the Nitrating House from the Cotton Dry House. How? Monorail, of course.

MPE3- 3 Ship

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.

Bids

A bank of vertical filing cabinets, probably dating to National Guard days.

Curtains

This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.

Diesel Doors

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.

Hopper Stopper

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.

Spiral Staircase

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.

Hoist House

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.

Side of a Boiler

Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.

Blast Smelter View

From an unsteady perch atop the blast furnace, the morning light began to leach into the complex below.

Dock 4 Panorama

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).

Old Kettles

In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.

Ogilvie’s Fez

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.

Bridge to Factory

One of the many fireproof bridges connecting the factory sections, one way to prevent fires from spreading throughout the plant.

Gauges

In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.

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