This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
A strange arcade machine in the basement.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
I found a face.
In the nitrating house.
I wish I knew what has become of this great one-of-a-kind sign that used to brag how many days the Clyde Iron factory has gone without a serious accident. Update: It’s hanging in one of the smaller venue spaces behind the bar.
One of the many blast doors. Note the plunger to seal off the airflow in the event of an attack or accidental explosion.
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.
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.
Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.
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.
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 old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
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.
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 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.
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.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
These copulas made the iron for casting.
Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.
A vintage X-Ray machine in the oldest section of the hospital.
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
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.
A typical wall in the base.
Another ruined spiral staircase in the mill.
Part of the Pillsbury tunnel that brought water back to the Mississippi River.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
A new loading shed to fill train cars.
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.
In the soft wood of the machine, an employee left their mark.
The steel sea leg is so heavy it requires a huge counterweight that travels the height of the elevator.
A fallen branch smashed out this skylight years ago, and since then the bees have found this tiny toilet a perfect home. This is part of the hotel where employees slept.
The elevator is stuck between floors.
Stained windows and sheet metal catch the sunset from across the Ohio River.
The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.
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.
I like this picture because it shows some of the only unbroken windows at Packard.
A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.
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).
A natural reaction with this kind of view.
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.
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.
A high-ceilinged room where kegs would be delivered for cleaning, before they were refilled with fresh booze.
Iron becoming dirt becoming birches.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
In the far back of the cellars there are some old bottles. This arch shows an old entrance to the cellars, now collapsed.
Looking through the trestle toward the ghost town.
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.
Workers’ lockers, strewn across Main Street, yet still out of the way.
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’.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
On the dark side of the workhouse at sunset, you can almost see where the walls used to be. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
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.
A one-of-a-kind installation in Armour’s otherwise gutted engine house.
Mounted in an office.
C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
The Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
Aaron by the concentrator.
In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.
…a better view of the huge tailings boom stretching outside of the tailings pond.
I wonder what this guy is thinking, walking through the complex.
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.
Looking at the tallest part of the plant from a skeletal loading dock. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
The powered lime hopper had a lot of levels.
An emergency slide to help workers evacuate the blending house in an emergency.
The original metal sign over the porticos.
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.
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.
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
This is a 1956 furnace. It was used to forge wheels, casings, and parts for the axel shop.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
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.
Standing next to the now-demolished records room.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
Looking down the kiln line from atop the furnaces.
#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.
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 out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.
This mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.
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.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
This steel cup on the card would move molten copper to the caster from the furnace.
This section of the hospital recently collapsed.
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.
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 picture typifies the industrial ideal of the early 20th century. More metal than air. More efficiency than beauty. More profits than people.
The two exhaust vents coming out from the boilers en route to the stacks. Plywood marks where where catwalks were removed to extract equipment.
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.
Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.
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 secret sweet-yet-salty center of the nameless factoryscape. Home base, tuned to rule the AC and turn out Product X at record rates, I’m sure.
A little sheet metal box somehow made it back home.
Two counterweighted elevators moved men between the surface, mine, and underground mill.
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.
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.
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.
This movable chute came off its rails.
I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.
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.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
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.
Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
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).
Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
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.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
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 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.
The front door to the auditorium.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
One of a few dozen steel bed frames left in the rubble of the collapsing building.
The stairs of this elevator had their landings removed long ago to keep vandals grounded.
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
I love the ‘hats’ on the top of the SWP-4 headhouse. FP-100C.
The pipes in the boiler would be full of water, so the heat in the furnace.
The elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
Old hospital beds.
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.
A dead work truck rusts near an outbuilding. Everything is marked with a code. Modernity.
A dead belt-o-vator.
This picture shows the challenges of moving around underground in the base.
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
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.
These corner pilings served as bumpers… a little assurance against wind, ice, and new captains.
A ship passes the abandoned dock on its way to Duluth. Taconite dust stains the sides of its hull red.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
The Dock 5 sign at track level. Probably as an aid to sailors reboarding their vessels.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
The surgical suite was flooding.
Chutes from a hundred machines interconnect to more machines and chutes on a dozen factory floors.
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
A multi-family home with an attic bedroom. The staircase was unstable, to say the least.
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.
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
Pocket door and light switches in the upper control room, at the top of the spiral staircase.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.
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.
I believe this is the push car, meaning it would push the charge in the oven out the opposite side into the train car.
The perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
Beside the half-demolished Thunder Bay Elevator shops and offices (brick building) are some rusting fishing boats. A little bit of SWP #7 is seen in the upper right.
At the top of a skyway that brought fresh-dried cotton into the Nitrating House from the Cotton Dry House. How? Monorail, of course.
Looking up the rock house.
An original stencil-brushed sign.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
The porcelain hoops guided the silk threads through the device.
Looking into one of the fire slides, designed to evacuate patients extremely quickly. In 1880, a fire completely destroyed the asylum at St. Peter, Minnesota, killing 30 patients.
In case of fire, workers on higher floors would take the emergency slides to escape.
This low brick building is interesting to me.
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.
This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.
The coal crusher (above) and the conveyor (left) to bring the powdered coal to furnace hoppers (right).
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
Part of the grain drier system in ADM #1 crawls up the side of the building like a steel vine.
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.
Quincy Smelter, 2014.
These machines are at least 100 years old.
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 fantastic Art Deco portico over the main entrance to the concourse.
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 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.
Looking across the catwalk attache to the elevated control room, in charge of the train dumping part of the operation.
I couldn’t help but include this ghost sign for a demolished motel…
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
The woman in the wall has the bed; is pulling it in; is holding you down…
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 old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
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.
These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
A closeup of a flour chute.
The gold mine is now a gravel pit.
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.
The side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
Captured bolts for a pressure cooker on an industrial scale.
These machines circulated water through the powder from the ball mills. Gold and silver is heavier than gravel, so it sinks while the junk rock floats.
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
A closeup of the now-scrapped steel chute.
A printing press in the attic of the Reception Hospital.
It was as noisy then as it is colorful now…
The bridge here moved workers between the dock, the approach tracks, and refueling buildings.