The newer tunnels were fitted with these fluorescent lights, although some skylights (block glass embedded in skywalks) let in some natural light during the day.
The sun shining through one of the buildings; everything was overgrown.
Though it’s a little unclear what control station controlled what function, these levers seemed to relate to some of the bigger equipment inside the dredge, such as the trommel.
A typical room in Birtle.
Standing on the ruins of the burned Northern Pacific RR Freight House. It’s the best place to watch ships move around the harbor. Some things haven’t changed…
While the last of the Studebaker production buildings were being demolished, I visited again. Here’s a shot taken shortly after the demolition crew left for the day.
It was interesting that, even though storms had carried the wooden walkway that stretched under the dock, these piles of spilled taconite remain where they had dropped.
A self portrait from more than a decade ago.
These wide spools sit atop the abandoned tracks that lead to the train shed, which was later repurposed into a truck shed.
An alarm panel in the powerpplant, now demolished.
Pipe fittings in little drawers, lit by tea lights.
My favorite shot from the trip. Later in its life, the plant was converted to burn its own byproducts, but it seems this was designed as a coal hopper.
Hand painted fire extinguisher notices and a long room which I strongly suspect was a pattern cutting room.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
On top of the light hoop, 160-feet up, a ship comes into port, ready to load-up. If you look really close, you can see my shadow cast on the dock below, courtesy of the full moon.
ADM overshadows the Meal Elevator. The cleared area behind is now home to Surley Brewery.
Camera: Pentax 67.
Thunder Bay Elevator, now stands without a headhouse. Around the silos, a few shacks still stand.
Far away, you can see the red lights on the steam plant smokestack. To the extreme right is the beginning of the Minneapolis skyline. Paint (where this was taken) and Assembly (where the blue light is) were connected with a long skyway that carried completed trucks to be painted. I assume the device in the foreground burned volatiles from the painting process.
Perhaps this office was for a film studio or music producer.
Different colors stained the small panes on the top floor. For once, it seemed more ridiculous to not be inside an abandoned factory.
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.
When the Mitchell project is complete, I’ll miss the textures on the face of the boiler.
You can see why so few products had bright packaging. If the can here was brown, you’d never see it in a dark wood cabinet.
Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.
Wintertime is quiet, except for the planes overhead.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
Empty equipment racks behind a missile launcher.
A buck-fifty shot for a postcard stand. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
A big sliding fire door opens onto a train dock.
The roof of the elevator was partly lit naturally with six big skylights. The less electricity pumped into a grain elevator, the less chance of a grain dust explosion.
In the ward for the criminally insane, this door was the most-worn. Nail scratches mark the area around the peep hole, the wood is gouged everywhere from thrown chairs and hard kicks, and a ominous blood-colored stain is visible where it dripped in the second inset from the bottom. Aside from the damage, the coloring in this section was very vibrant, though it was probably little reprieve for those who had to work here.
An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
While the stokers are gone, the pipes bringing pulverized coal down were left.
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 train loading tower (left), and elevators. Check out that giant flagpole/lightning rod.
Beautiful doors separated the boiler room and the sugar mill. Can you imagine the gracefully curving steps in a power plant today?
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
These aluminum powder kegs were forgotten in storage.
This is the far interior of the hotel, where the darkness made the shag carpet seem to move whenever the trees outside swayed. That is to say, constantly.
One of a few rolling workbenches to keep the thousands of pulleys, cogs, and belts working properly.
Miller Creek, in one of the wider sections that features a trout (as in the fish) canal in the middle of the drain. Even though it is underground, the fish are able to visit their breeding ponds upstream by swimming through the specially designed tunnel.
In the quality assurance labs there is a old safe.
The pitch of the roof is more typical for areas with lots of snow—not the border of Ohio and Kentucky. So, I assume this roofline accommodated some equipment inside for trains—note the tracks.
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.
A late look at the brewhouse, long after the stainless steel tanks were scrapped.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
The iron holding up the plaster ceiling is rusted to the point the weight of it is bending it right over.
These concrete blocks were formed to be solid mounts for machinery. All the metal was scrapped in the late 1990s, leaving these modern ruins. Seagulls love them.
The valley is full of rocky peaks that stand out from the winding creeks, which only truly run after storms. It is a very beautiful place.
The fresh snow makes the whole complex look a lot cleaner than it actually is.
An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
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.
Gold, which has a relatively high mass, would drop through the slats of the sluice boxes as the water flowed over them. Around the dredge were a half dozen radiator pipes to keep the water flowing through the machines.
Partier graffiti dates to when the caves were last open to the public; probably in the 1990s. This tunnel used to horseshoe between the brewery’s ice chute (left) and basement door (right, backfilled). Note the utility tunnel in the upper-right corner as well as the lighting brackets on the ceiling.
A portrait of the second school of McConnell, built in 1937.
The cemetery for the old asylum is, sadly, largely unmarked. Only in recent years has there been a real effort to locate and identify the remains there.
A view of the hallway outside of the auditorium.
The old movie theatre sign was sitting right inside the sealed front doors.
Harsh rail yard lighting throws shadows of broken windows against the line of boilers.
Grand Army, as seen from a Gilman Tram grade.
This was one of two skyways that went between production line offices. It’s easy to tell because it’s not reinforced for machinery to travel through it. I also like that it’s a double-decker, so to speak.
Seven TV sets and not one shows my reflection. I’d also like to point out not two of these are the same.
The workshop and parts room was full of light and meticulously sorted bolts, nuts, washers, gaskets, and all sorts of specialty hardware.
This ornamental stair is cast iron and used to connect all floors of the Administration building. Now it connects the first and second floor, then the third and fourth floors, with a strange cinder block and drywall barrier separating the new and old sections of the building. Note the insulation on the floor to seal heat into the lower floors that were used as offices until the hospital closed. On the corners of the staircase are lions, on the corners of the suspended section of stair are down-hanging pineapples. Set in the stairs themselves are shield motifs with slate tops.
The Atlas D command building. As Brutalist as it gets.
The flour mill (rear) and its elevators. The taller elevator was moved here in 1955, when the Harrisons bought it from Federal, who declared it surplus. The smaller elevator replaced an earlier smaller warehouse in 1926. Taken shortly after dawn. This one picture made the drive worth it, for me. Medium Format.
The rumors were true. Success is sweet.
The nitrating house was a chemically dangerous place, so it had thick metal and concrete shield for every station right next to an emergency shower.
This dock goes between loading bays (see glass brick walls) and the railroad.
The building behind Daisy was demolished, leaving these tanks and a pointless conveyorway. Now it’s bricked (see over door near right corner of mill) and the tanks are exposed to the elements. There are a few holes in the area that have a healthy drop, so you should avoid the area.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
The underside of the ore dock in winter. Snow drifts across the dock from the frozen lake.
I really like the way this high-ceilinged room is decaying. Well, decayed. It’s demolished now.
The missiles were stored without fuel, to help prevent mishaps. This is the fuel pumping building and one of the tanks.
An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
“GREETING FROM BEAUTIFUL GARY–WISH YOU WERE HERE!” My postcard shot.
The workshop sat below the main working floor and had serious power going to it.
Lost words over the auditorium entrance.
A warped mirror in the rock crusher at the rear of the complex.
Taken as I drove out of Silverton, CO. One of my favorite landscapes of 2015. Want a print? Email me!
I didn’t test the rungs, but I bet the view was incredible.
Indianapolis’ beautiful downtown is in the distance, past the gas storage tank.
The common rooms bulge out of the institutional geometry of the wards.
On the left is a bathroom, which is why it has the wire mesh over the door; so it could be locked and still be ventilated. On the right side are small double-bed rooms, which still have their heavy wooden doors. More attractive than jail cell doors, but serving the same purpose.
A super-shallow depth of field shot on the Leica Summilux.
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
As photographed from a cement piling for Slip #3 poured in 1935, disconnected from land by erosion. How do I know the date? A pair of steamship engineers carved their initials and ranks into the wet cement!
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
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
The meticulously tiled dry house shower floor–cracked by frost.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
A long exposure of the city glow illuminating the roof, highlighting the victorian and gothic influences on the brew house.
In the corner of the former school grounds…
Fergus Falls State Hospital. Well, technically moonlight… but a with stars nonetheless! The orange glow from the left and in the rear of the building are exterior lights on associated–former State Hospital–buildings. All other light is from the full moon that evening.
A bridge crosses the main street of the village; one that goes nowhere. Ambiguity intended.
Standing on the ruins of the former sister dock, looking back at the soon-to-be-demolished family member. The pilings I stood on for the shot were those of the Chicago and North Western RR #3 which was dismantled in 1960 and used to be 2,040-feet long.
The water tower no doubt made good scrap after it hit the ground.
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.
Taken several years before the tornado story when the weather, and the condition of the buildings, were nice.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
The hospital was surrounded by walking paths that crisscrossed the front green, as it was called. Part of Kirkbride’s plan was to have ample opportunities for exercise outdoors–fresh air, especially cold fresh air, was thought to have curative properties.
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
A panorama next to a long abandoned adit. The tram has seen better days.
Algae grows where water flows/From the sawtooth roof/To the mines below/The sun climbs high/But is in no one’s eyes/A wall alone crumbles/It was no suprise
Pozo Mine, the most menacing mine building I’ve ever seen. Black and white film, shot with the Fuji GX680, a beast of a camera.
The man behind the curtain watches, but doesn’t say anything. Probably the smartest one in the room.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
When I looked out of the old mill, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was holding it all up.
One leg of the headframe meets the hoist house. Two cranes are rusted in place.
Kate in the Atlas E, which is essentially a buried Atlas D. Above is the protective steel blast door.
A tunnel between the outside gate and the courtyard shared by the barracks.
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded machines.
This is what it might have looked like if a new Ford descended in the elevator with its headlights on. As seen from the Mississippi side–the opposite portal faces the sand mine.
Employee lockers near the stage, Service Building.
The dock is still lit at night and it casts shadows over the rust-welded ore doors.
In the middle of Electric Steel, dust collector vents cross-cross out of sight.
A storm passes over BOMARC’s center row of launch buildings. You can clearly see the tracks on which the roof would retract for launch.
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
Looking out of Kurth Malt a the neighbors–the silos past Electric Steel are those of the Froedert Malt Company, now gone.
Go on and jump in, if you want, there’s even a ladder to climb out.
One of two projectors, still set to run old 3D flicks.
The city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.
This gives you a sense for what it looks like to stand on the roof of the main production building at sunset.
A typical building from the expanded starch line.
The BOMARC launch buildings are spaced on a large concrete pad that looks like a parking lot. Out of view are underground pipes for fueling and cooling the rocket motors.
Where staff could sleep.
A divot to let more light and air into the building.
Before each warhead was crated, it was inspected.
The light next to this acid tank was perfect, thanks to a gaping hole in the roof.
Without proper pressure, the steering engine was ineffective.
The most pointless, beautiful and nuclear-bomb-proof catwalk I’ve been on to date. It goes between two high levels in its own bottom-lit concrete capsule in the center of the tallest, thickest building. Hang on, we’re riding this one out.
The side of a launcher, with outbuildings in the background. You can see the tracks where the roof would open before launch.
…a little close for comfort.
What time is it?
The light masts are there, but it looks like the cables that stretched across the dock with the actual lights have fallen down.
For reasons unknown, this building’s concrete was designed a little thinly. It reminds me of a Chicago, IL building constructed during WWI when concrete and steel were strictly rationed and many buildings went up with insufficient superstructures. I do not have a build date for this one yet.
The Beeghley was launched in 1958… you can see it unloading limestone here with its retrofitted self-unloader. Update: This ship has been renamed the ‘James L. Oberstar’ after the Minnesota Senator. [Read more on Boardnerd.com here: http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/oberstar.htm]
The steam-powered hoist that pulled ore and dropped men from the mine. Note the hydraulic-operated brake on top with its massive brake pad. Now scrapped.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
The American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
The old hotel doesn’t like to show its age. Indeed, if it had a few paint job and soft remodel it would be fit to open–that is, if there was a need for it in this tiny rural New York town.
The old truck scale sits in the middle of what was Nettleton Avenue Slip.
A wounded flour mill, muscled into the corner to keep out of the way.
West Elevation of the Depot. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
The hospital is so self art deco that it seems like a film set!
A simple porcelain fountain in the original brewhouse. The water fountain, no doubt, is not original.
Almost all of the doors and windows on the ground floor have been boarded, leaving the ground level very dark.
A new loading shed to fill train cars.
Looking toward the old power house, right below one of its arteries.
Beautiful details in the plaster moulding have been preserved by the sheer height of this room between the cathedral and auditorium.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
The concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
Where the drain changes shape from round concrete to arched brick.
A bumper sticker with the usual tagline. Note the detail on the radiator!
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.
Not necessarily a children’s room.
After demolition in the mid 2000s, this interior door became exterior. I remember walking through the car shed as a teenager. It was a shortcut, if I didn’t get caught.
Glowing observation windows–and someone forgot to lock a patient’s door…
The gothic landing between balcony and classroom level and the ground floor.
A wide view (15mm) of the shadow 4B is casting on 4A. Light leaks because of cheap camera.
What you see is not a crack in the floor, but a long vine extending ten feet onto the shop floor, as if reaching in to escape the wind and rain.
The underground portions of the engine shop were mostly filled in.
Shadows of the timberwork and cribbing are cast across cracked lake ice. My footprints follow cat tracks.
Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
No ambiguity here… miners, check in at this office.
The sun lowered behind the dead flour mill, bending its image upon itself.
It seemed the only way to get a view of the room was to climb above the mounds of rotting donations, now not even fit to burn.
This is one of the modern nurse’s stations where the last inpatients lived in the mid-2000s. The windows are thick shatterproof plastic. I am unsure why the suspended ceiling is missing.
The top floor’s old-fashioned hospital ways were too much to pass without a photo or two… with the paint falling off the walls it was as if the building was shedding its skin in an effort to become rejuvenated or useful.
Looking toward Duluth from the top of a Dock 1 light tower. NP Dock 1 is on the left… an earlier competitor to Allouez. The stars reflect on Lake Superior.
The nurse’s station on this floor, a ward still in its original design, featured a half-door where patients could get their medicine. Portra 160.
Dirty filters for some equipment hang, awaiting a purpose.
The guts of the dock are connected with a long narrow hallway. Below this section are shops and labs.
The sun sets in front of a huge concrete building—about four times the size of the power plant. Probably a corn storage bin from an ethanol operation that ran here in the 1980s.
Grain is taken from the bottom of the silos through a conveyor in a tunnel. These blowers keep the air in the tunnel fresh.
The vibrant colors clashed with the silent hotel.
Standing on the fence barricade that used to keep squatters out of the tunnel, the size of the space is impressive. What you see here is the current length of the tunnel; I set up a flashlight at the end to illuminate the concrete wall that is the lower portal.
A light-painted portrait of one of the few remaining carts that moved everything from fresh eggs to soiled laundry through the tunnels.
Small rooms in the basement of the asylum were seemingly too tiny to be used, even for storage.
It’s not hard to see how Germany could turn these into a prison overnight.
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.
Either the company was pulling parts from this evaporator to use as parts for other plants, or the last thing the workers did was to get this machine ready for the next campaign. Either way, plans changed.
From the highest roof of Ogvilvie’s, Thunder Bay looks like paradise.
This is what the mine shops look like from the road between Gaastra, MI and Rogers Location (formerly Bates, MI). The community was renamed for the mine, probably under the heavy influence of M.A. Hanna.
A tunnel connecting the two larger caves in the hill; those that Jacob vented in the rear. The vents are still extant!
Shadows of the rusty trestle and cold control towers on the Barker. Workers are preparing to swing over the sides of the boat to help secure her to the Minnesota Power dock.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
On the boarded-up first floor of the house proper near the door to the chapel, the last pew sites next to a wet box of Bibles.
Camera: Pentax 67. Film: Kodak Ektar 100.
Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.
The coal water power plant stack accompanied the smell of an arson.
Looking across at the Cargill elevator.
2006. A section of the third floor that has changed a lot over the years. Compare to 2015 shot.
This sea leg was installed to unload grain boats. It’s pretty much a big bucket elevator that can be moved and lowered into waiting boats.