If it wasn’t for the humming and crackling of the wires, I could believe I had arrived to a post apocalyptic landscape.
Molten copper pouring being a very dangerous thing to do by hand, this scale measured the load for the “Auto Caster” that actually formed the cooling copper in its molds.
A squat building with a rail scale. Taken between rain showers in late summer, when I seemed to be the only one at White Pine.
Thunder Bay Elevator, now stands without a headhouse. Around the silos, a few shacks still stand.
As wind and currents moved the ice around between the ore docks, the sounds of crunching echoed through the otherwise quiet bar.
Part of the decommissioned plant was used by the Air Force for virtual bombing runs. This is the guard shack for the radar station.
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
One of my favorite images from my stay… Note the snowed-over road in the distance! This is looking toward Animas Forks.
Inside the office was a small furnace and a collection of mechanical belts. You can see “SERVICE AT COST” and “POOL 168” in the background.
This building had the rusty remains of a few mattresses, likely used in the 1940s when this site was last occupied.
I made this picture to give the reader a sense of the slope between the mine buildings and the base of the concentrator. The whole area was really steep, and sometimes required scrambling to get up and down the Picayune Gulch for short distances.
This old Jetta did more offroading than your average lifted tinted loud-exhaust pickup.
Early bird catches the shadow of Battle Mountain blaring across the ghost town.
Inside the pilot copper concentrator.
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 turned rail was to prevent runaway cars from going over the end of the dock and into the lake.
Looking through a launcher doorway at an outbuilding… the fire truck garage, if I recall correctly. Fomapan medium format in Pentax 67.
Because of the dangers of storing the materials to make explosives as well as the explosives themselves, there were earthen bunkers all across the plant like this.
Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.
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.
Frontier Gas is a former (?) gas station chain. Chain O’ mines reused a scrapped sign to mark their mill. Under the paint you can barely make out: GLORY HOLE GOLD MILL.
The main gate, as seen in 2005. It hasn’t changed much since then.
The elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
The side of a launcher, with outbuildings in the background. You can see the tracks where the roof would open before launch.
While it looks like ground level, everything here is one story above the actual earth.
The iconic outline of a prairie sentinel. Quintessential rural industrial architecture.
Outbuildings for Tilston’s Five Roses elevator.
The shed in the front was full of worker supplies–namely goggles and heavy leather gloves. Molten copper isn’t a friendly thing to handle.
The main buildings were mostly interconnected and in good condition. The dry air helps to preserve the wooden structures.
Outbuildings near the perimeter fence. Beyond is all ranch land.
The office for the maintenance shop was sound-insulated and ventilated.
I’m not sure, actually, whether this was an outhouse (right), but it seems likely. In any case, it was connected by a covered staircase to the Bunk House (left). The soil here was not all tailings, so there is a bit of thick grass–almost the only in sight!