The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.
An impressive message for graffiti in a Detroit warehouse, but then again look at these steam pumps. Over-built and under-appreciated.
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.
Looking through the center of a scrapped generator, its copper long scrapped.
A wimpy crane by most standards, only suitable for moving around parts of steam turbines.
I follow this advice every day. You should too.
Because there’s no Port-a-John underground.
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.
Blue skies and rust-pocked siding contrast the high-altitude blue sky. By the time I had worked my way back to the tram, it was sunset.
Drawn in fresh concrete about 50 years before I took this picture, and only 2 years after this elevator blew up…
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
The tops of the coke stoves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.
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.
Water damage dissolved the ceiling into sludge. Pillars remain, as do the plastic light covers, now on the floor.
The corner of the elevator… lumber armored with steel for fireproofing and water resistance.
Without a roof, the bricks were being washed away in the later years of the roundhouse.
This is the crane that would be used to lower extra-heavy bits of copper ore into the fire of the furnace.
Chutes from a hundred machines interconnect to more machines and chutes on a dozen factory floors.
Much of the plant depended on steam, not only for heat but for mechanical power.
Looking at the tallest part of the plant from a skeletal loading dock. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
A bank of vertical filing cabinets, probably dating to National Guard days.
The American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
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.
A huge steel tank, one of several left over, left over from either the Ashland Oil or Allied Chemical periods.
Blue plastic siding filters the summer sun, giving the otherwise reddish-brown interior a splash of color.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
Behind the factory was an old truck, blocked in by overgrown trees on one side and the buildings on the other.
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.
Cages and hooks to dry wet miner clothes.
A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
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.
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 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.
The many levels of catwalks make for a place where you can look from the ground floor to the roof, about 4 stories up.
In the far back of the cellars there are some old bottles. This arch shows an old entrance to the cellars, now collapsed.
This was a living space for the keepers during storms, when it was too dangerous to return to the houses on the point.
Worm in the path of raw ore where it would be dumped from rock cars into the silo below.
Quincy Smelter, 2014.
This is a 1956 furnace. It was used to forge wheels, casings, and parts for the axel shop.
Much of the milling equipment predated the mill itself, so I would not be surprised if this particular machine really dates to 1860.
A one-of-a-kind installation in Armour’s otherwise gutted engine house.
A line of huge machines wait to be used as parts under a long-disused belt drive.
A closeup inside the mill’s power room.
One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.
A printing press in the attic of the Reception Hospital.
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 generator room was state of the art when it was installed, allowing the complex to use motors and electric lighting ahead of its competitors.
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 coal crusher (above) and the conveyor (left) to bring the powdered coal to furnace hoppers (right).
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
A volcano (?) under a window.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
The two exhaust vents coming out from the boilers en route to the stacks. Plywood marks where where catwalks were removed to extract equipment.
A colorful boiler is a happy boiler! RotoGrate systems remove ashes from the boiler firebox by revolving the bottom of the system to let the fly ash drop into a hopper. This greatly increases boiler efficiency.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
This big rusty sphere hides behind the incomplete 5-stack.
Asbestos-cord-wrapped glass tongs piled in a shed next to the pouring line.
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
A switch for the yard engines, now on the edge of the property where nobody will find it.
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
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 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.
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.
A high-ceilinged room where kegs would be delivered for cleaning, before they were refilled with fresh booze.
Colors of the boiler room.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
Looking down a manlift on the ore dock side of the elevator. It’s a belt-less belt-o-vator!
Christmas lights from the time Island Station was an art studio lean against a rusty boiler.
A new loading shed to fill train cars.
Looking through the trestle toward the ghost town.
Old hospital beds.
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.
Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.
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.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
At the extreme eastern end of the plant is a bank of modern concrete silos. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
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 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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Looking into the Pool 8 Annex from the original Ogilvie’s elevator.
A typical wall in the base.
Sarah below Cascade Park. This space was destroyed when the park flooded.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
An emergency slide to help workers evacuate the blending house in an emergency.
It’s never a good sign when the windows are boarded from the inside.
One of the machines left over in the underground magnetic separation plant.
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.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
The Comm Room’s portals once supported many more conduits.
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.
One evening I spent an hour lighting tea candles through the tunnels below the elevator. It was a magical transformation.
Looking up the rock house.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
The bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
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 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.
I love when moss grows indoors… one of the little pleasures of exploring abandonments.
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.
Interlocking bricks at the mouth of the stoker-less boiler.
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
#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.
Harris Machinery rests under snow on the left. Two explorers enjoy the view.
A multi-family home with an attic bedroom. The staircase was unstable, to say the least.
I believe this is the push car, meaning it would push the charge in the oven out the opposite side into the train car.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.
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 massive steel sheer’s equally massive drive cog. Imagine the force.
Sprays of water kept the muddy mixture flowing across the sluices, which filtered out gold particles from gravel and dirty.
This is where the lime would spill out.
The pilot house, lit with the lights of Superior.
This load of lime seems to have been left right where it was loaded.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
Old boathouses near the dock.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
From an unsteady perch atop the blast furnace, the morning light began to leach into the complex below.
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
Latin; to grow. Root of the English word ‘surge’.
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.
An original, minimally remodeled bathroom above the cafeteria reminds us what the whole complex once looked like.
An original stencil-brushed sign.
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.
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
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.
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.
Behind the evaporators are heavy access hatches to inspect the steam pipes within.
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.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
Part of the grain drier system in ADM #1 crawls up the side of the building like a steel vine.
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.
Looking out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.
The woman in the wall has the bed; is pulling it in; is holding you down…
A wrecked pressure gauge and employee time cards.
When the building switched souls from booze to bread, these contraptions were mounted across the brewhouse floors… they’re not for hops, either.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
The original color of the wall was probably green.
Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.
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.
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.
Iron becoming dirt becoming birches.
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.
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.
In the nitrating house.
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.
The original metal sign over the porticos.
Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.
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.
In the grungy control room, I found a little slice that was never graffitied.
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 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.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
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 elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
Two counterweighted elevators moved men between the surface, mine, and underground mill.
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.
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 steel cup on the card would move molten copper to the caster from the furnace.
Where workers would sign documents and collect their pay.
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.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
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.
Aaron by the concentrator.
At the top of a skyway that brought fresh-dried cotton into the Nitrating House from the Cotton Dry House. How? Monorail, of course.
Mounted in an office.
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.
In case of fire, workers on higher floors would take the emergency slides to escape.
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.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
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 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 wonder what this guy is thinking, walking through the complex.
Fire doors and penis talk.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
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.
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.
Two small generators connected to a Frick steam engine.
Outside the locker room without the sandwiches and beer… plenty of glass shards, though, if you feel like it.
These corner pilings served as bumpers… a little assurance against wind, ice, and new captains.
Part of the back of the distribution boards; the rear of a giant remote transformer switch.
The fantastic Art Deco portico over the main entrance to the concourse.
The gold mine is now a gravel pit.
A winding flue between the ovens for Furnace 6, capped with sketchy catwalks.