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.
Jet Lowe is my inspiration.
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.
Another ruined spiral staircase in the mill.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
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.
I wonder what this guy is thinking, walking through the complex.
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 little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
Looking through the trestle toward the ghost town.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
Two small generators connected to a Frick steam engine.
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 ship passes the abandoned dock on its way to Duluth. Taconite dust stains the sides of its hull red.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
These copulas made the iron for casting.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
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 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.
The powered lime hopper had a lot of levels.
Off the beaten path is this old LTV sign. Now it points to a ghost town and dead dock.
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.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
A closeup of the now-scrapped steel chute.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
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.
The original color of the wall was probably green.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
Stained windows and sheet metal catch the sunset from across the Ohio River.
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.
A massive steel sheer’s equally massive drive cog. Imagine the force.
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.
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.
An original, minimally remodeled bathroom above the cafeteria reminds us what the whole complex once looked like.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
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.
One of the many fireproof bridges connecting the factory sections, one way to prevent fires from spreading throughout the plant.
Aaron by the concentrator.
Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.
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.
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 south wall of the power plant. Its sheet metal skin couldn’t fit around the structure, it seems… note the very strange protruding superstructure.
In the nitrating house.
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).
I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.
Old hospital beds.
A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.
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.
This is a 1956 furnace. It was used to forge wheels, casings, and parts for the axel shop.
Asbestos-cord-wrapped glass tongs piled in a shed next to the pouring line.
This section of the hospital recently collapsed.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
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 ’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.
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.
Chutes from a hundred machines interconnect to more machines and chutes on a dozen factory floors.
Looking down the kiln line from atop the furnaces.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
Looking through the center of a scrapped generator, its copper long scrapped.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.
This rod mill (?) was made in Denver Colorado at a factory now buried by condos. #justdenverthings
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.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
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.
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.
The side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
A printing press in the attic of the Reception Hospital.
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
A line of huge machines wait to be used as parts under a long-disused belt drive.
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.
Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.
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 low brick building is interesting to me.
Looking into the Pool 8 Annex from the original Ogilvie’s elevator.
The pilot house, lit with the lights of Superior.
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 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.
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.
Fire doors and penis talk.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
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 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.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
Part of the back of the distribution boards; the rear of a giant remote transformer switch.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
Much of the milling equipment predated the mill itself, so I would not be surprised if this particular machine really dates to 1860.
The surgical suite was flooding.
Without a roof, the bricks were being washed away in the later years of the roundhouse.
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.
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
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.
This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
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.
From an unsteady perch atop the blast furnace, the morning light began to leach into the complex below.
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.
This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.
A new loading shed to fill train cars.
The well-worn chair in one larry’s operator cab, next to an overgrown coke battery.
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 closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.
The coal crusher (above) and the conveyor (left) to bring the powdered coal to furnace hoppers (right).
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.
Looking across the catwalk attache to the elevated control room, in charge of the train dumping part of the operation.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
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 many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
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.
C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
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.
I believe this is the push car, meaning it would push the charge in the oven out the opposite side into the train car.
This steel cup on the card would move molten copper to the caster from the furnace.
A collapsing and unstable building.
Part of the grain drier system in ADM #1 crawls up the side of the building like a steel vine.
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded machines.
Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
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.
…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.
A switch for the yard engines, now on the edge of the property where nobody will find it.
Iron becoming dirt becoming birches.
Under the monster and its teeth.
The two exhaust vents coming out from the boilers en route to the stacks. Plywood marks where where catwalks were removed to extract equipment.
At the top of a skyway that brought fresh-dried cotton into the Nitrating House from the Cotton Dry House. How? Monorail, of course.
A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.
A closeup of a soon-to-be-scrapped crane pulley.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
The stairs of this elevator had their landings removed long ago to keep vandals grounded.
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.
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.
A wimpy crane by most standards, only suitable for moving around parts of steam turbines.
“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.”
Outside the locker room without the sandwiches and beer… plenty of glass shards, though, if you feel like it.
Because there’s no Port-a-John underground.
A sheik mustard-yellow paint scheme across the roofless engine house goes great with the industrial moss and rust.
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.
In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
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.
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
The corner of the elevator… lumber armored with steel for fireproofing and water resistance.
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.
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.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
The elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
Pocket door and light switches in the upper control room, at the top of the spiral staircase.
The original metal sign over the porticos.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
The Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.
Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
Workers in the basement tunnels had to communicate with the workhouse operators 100 feet above and vice versa. Alarms and bells were installed to signal trouble over the sound of the elevator machinery.
A little sheet metal box somehow made it back home.
Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.
The tops of the coke stoves.
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.
Drawn in fresh concrete about 50 years before I took this picture, and only 2 years after this elevator blew up…
The porcelain hoops guided the silk threads through the device.
These corner pilings served as bumpers… a little assurance against wind, ice, and new captains.
Captured bolts for a pressure cooker on an industrial scale.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
A bank of vertical filing cabinets, probably dating to National Guard days.
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.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
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.
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.
An emergency slide to help workers evacuate the blending house in an emergency.
The elevator is stuck between floors.
This tunnel goes to the adit over the Eagle River Mills. I bet those carts go fast down here!
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
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.
The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.
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.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.