A natural reaction with this kind of view.
Behind the factory was an old truck, blocked in by overgrown trees on one side and the buildings on the other.
A collapsing and unstable building.
A closeup of the now-scrapped steel chute.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
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.
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.
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.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
One of the many blast doors. Note the plunger to seal off the airflow in the event of an attack or accidental explosion.
Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.
The porcelain hoops guided the silk threads through the device.
Standing next to the now-demolished records room.
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.
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 old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.
The corner of the elevator… lumber armored with steel for fireproofing and water resistance.
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
A sheik mustard-yellow paint scheme across the roofless engine house goes great with the industrial moss and rust.
The front door to the auditorium.
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
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.
Aaron by the concentrator.
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.
The pilot house, lit with the lights of Superior.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
The surgical suite was flooding.
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.
A rooftop scene.
A pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
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.
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
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.
The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
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.
A dead belt-o-vator.
I couldn’t help but include this ghost sign for a demolished motel…
The pipes in the boiler would be full of water, so the heat in the furnace.
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.
This mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.
A volcano (?) under a window.
The two exhaust vents coming out from the boilers en route to the stacks. Plywood marks where where catwalks were removed to extract equipment.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
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.
Disabled forklift… I think it’s a Clark.
Part of the grain drier system in ADM #1 crawls up the side of the building like a steel vine.
The steel sea leg is so heavy it requires a huge counterweight that travels the height of the elevator.
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.
Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.
A high-ceilinged room where kegs would be delivered for cleaning, before they were refilled with fresh booze.
Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.
These corner pilings served as bumpers… a little assurance against wind, ice, and new captains.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
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.
An original, minimally remodeled bathroom above the cafeteria reminds us what the whole complex once looked like.
An original stencil-brushed sign.
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.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
This rod mill (?) was made in Denver Colorado at a factory now buried by condos. #justdenverthings
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.
This section of the hospital recently collapsed.
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 woman in the wall has the bed; is pulling it in; is holding you down…
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
Another ruined spiral staircase in the mill.
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.
These copulas made the iron for casting.
A closeup of a flour chute.
The winch that hauled the sea leg, a decide to unload grain from waiting boats and barges.
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 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.
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
A multi-family home with an attic bedroom. The staircase was unstable, to say the least.
C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
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.
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 ship passes the abandoned dock on its way to Duluth. Taconite dust stains the sides of its hull red.
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.
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
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 perfect place to have a post-industrial picnic.
The factory was utterly vertical.
Looking up the rock house.
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.
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.
Old boathouses near the dock.
Two counterweighted elevators moved men between the surface, mine, and underground mill.
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.
Iron becoming dirt becoming birches.
Looking into the Pool 8 Annex from the original Ogilvie’s elevator.
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 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.
Part of the Pillsbury tunnel that brought water back to the Mississippi River.
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.
Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded machines.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.
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.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
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.
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.
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 diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
The American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
I love the ‘hats’ on the top of the SWP-4 headhouse. FP-100C.
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.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
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.
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 old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
The the left, the nitrating line in War City. To the right, War City’s sole suburb, Charlestown, IN.
Colors of the boiler room.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
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.
Captured bolts for a pressure cooker on an industrial scale.
This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.
These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.
Interlocking bricks at the mouth of the stoker-less boiler.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
This steel cup on the card would move molten copper to the caster from the furnace.
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
I like this picture because it shows some of the only unbroken windows at Packard.
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.
In the far back of the cellars there are some old bottles. This arch shows an old entrance to the cellars, now collapsed.
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.
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 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.
Mounted in an office.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
This tunnel goes to the adit over the Eagle River Mills. I bet those carts go fast down here!
Looking through the center of a scrapped generator, its copper long scrapped.
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 rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
A washout two thirds of the way down the tram gave me a place to relax in the thin air.
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.
Fire doors and penis talk.
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.
An emergency slide to help workers evacuate the blending house in an emergency.
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.
Where workers would sign documents and collect their pay.
This low brick building is interesting to me.
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.
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.
Looking across the catwalk attache to the elevated control room, in charge of the train dumping part of the operation.
The fantastic Art Deco portico over the main entrance to the concourse.
A one-of-a-kind installation in Armour’s otherwise gutted engine house.
One evening I spent an hour lighting tea candles through the tunnels below the elevator. It was a magical transformation.
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.
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.
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
The bridge here moved workers between the dock, the approach tracks, and refueling buildings.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
Spring melt flows down the rusty rock house. In the background is the frame for the shaft.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
Behind the evaporators are heavy access hatches to inspect the steam pipes within.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
This movable chute came off its rails.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
A typical wall in the base.
At the top of a skyway that brought fresh-dried cotton into the Nitrating House from the Cotton Dry House. How? Monorail, of course.
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.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
In case of fire, workers on higher floors would take the emergency slides to escape.
A line of huge machines wait to be used as parts under a long-disused belt drive.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
Looking down the kiln line from atop the furnaces.
Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.
A closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.
There were bins with hundreds of spools in them in the basement.
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.
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).
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.
Old hospital beds.
The powered lime hopper had a lot of levels.
On the dark side of the workhouse at sunset, you can almost see where the walls used to be. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
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.
“What’s that diamond thingy on the Pilot House?” you ask? It’s a 1920s-era radio transmission direction finder, a pre-radar navigation aid. Lit with diffused flash.
This is where the lime would spill out.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
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.
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.
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.