Approaching the tunnel I heard about for so long…
The aft lifeboat survived auction, although now all it holds is an emergency ladder to help men who’ve fallen overboard get on deck.
The coal water power plant stack accompanied the smell of an arson.
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
A new loading shed to fill train cars.
In the corner of the former school grounds…
One of the older buildings on the site, this is an old power house that provided electricity to the plant. I spent some time walking around it and believe it was fired with coal gas but had a diesel backup installed later.
The city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.
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.
The first floor hallway between conference rooms and the diesel lab at the center of the facility
In the corner of the foundry, this lunchroom was literally collapsing under one small leak in the roof. Tile by tile the water ate away the ceiling. Note the clock.
In its last years, the church had a congregation of only about 100. It opened with 1.700…
Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.
The workshop sat below the main working floor and had serious power going to it.
A panorama next to a long abandoned adit. The tram has seen better days.
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 tunnel connecting the two larger caves in the hill; those that Jacob vented in the rear. The vents are still extant!
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
Some parts of the doctor’s apartment in the Administration Tower were decidedly upscale. Look at the beautiful ironwork on that sink!
Glowing observation windows–and someone forgot to lock a patient’s door…
The common rooms bulge out of the institutional geometry of the wards.
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
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.
The underside of the ore dock in winter. Snow drifts across the dock from the frozen lake.
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.
Electric Steel’s bins reflect the sunset.
One of two projectors, still set to run old 3D flicks.
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.
The fresh snow makes the whole complex look a lot cleaner than it actually is.
The hike to the village is steep. This is looking into the valley from the halfway point.
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.
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.
One leg of the headframe meets the hoist house. Two cranes are rusted in place.
A self portrait from more than a decade ago.
Camera: Pentax 67. Film: Kodak Ektar 100.
Before each warhead was crated, it was inspected.
I really like the way this high-ceilinged room is decaying. Well, decayed. It’s demolished now.
This dock goes between loading bays (see glass brick walls) and the railroad.
I never knew that all those elementary school balance bar exercises were for a very serious purpose: not falling to one’s death in the event they uncover lost Chicago history.
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.
My favorite shot of 2011; a rusty mold for a heart-shaped glass candy dish in its natural environment, so to speak.
Negative twenty looks much warmer in retrospect, wouldn’t you say? Taken through the window of a gantry crane cab.
Bayard Sugar Mill, as seen from the old power plant
The crumbling building barely contained the colors inside of it.
Sarah in Miller Creek Drain.
A late look at the brewhouse, long after the stainless steel tanks were scrapped.
This old ward, not a victim of remodeling, still has metal screens over the open windows of the doors. It should be obvious why glass were not used.
Where staff could sleep.
A bumper sticker with the usual tagline. Note the detail on the radiator!
Energy conserving window plastic does no good when the doors are all open and the heat’s off.
A typical building from the expanded starch line.
A wounded flour mill, muscled into the corner to keep out of the way.
The concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
The dock is still lit at night and it casts shadows over the rust-welded ore doors.
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.
It’s not hard to see how Germany could turn these into a prison overnight.
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.
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.
The side of the maintenance shops, still home to several disassembled electric carts.
The sun lowered behind the dead flour mill, bending its image upon itself.
When the Mitchell project is complete, I’ll miss the textures on the face of the boiler.
I wonder when fluorescent lighting was added.
Dirty filters for some equipment hang, awaiting a purpose.
The rumors were true. Success is sweet.
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.
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.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
A portrait of the second school of McConnell, built in 1937.
In this section of the Men’s Ward, sealed by brick from lower floors, the room doors had messages painted in their inside–some motivational, some not. I would be interested to hear if anyone knows the backstory of this section. Lighting is natural; it was just after sunset.
Peering out of the porthole of the light tower, I saw the shadow of the station on the lake.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
The American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
I don’t think we’re anywhere near maximum pressure anymore.
Kate in the Atlas E, which is essentially a buried Atlas D. Above is the protective steel blast door.
The vibrant colors clashed with the silent hotel.
The gothic landing between balcony and classroom level and the ground floor.
Looking down the walkway that traces the bottom side of the ore dock.
An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
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.
This was the exterior wall of the roundhouse; engines would have entered on the other side and machinery would line this side, hence the big windows for natural light.
The side of a launcher, with outbuildings in the background. You can see the tracks where the roof would open before launch.
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.
Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple; Open the door and see all the people; Here’s the parson going upstairs; Here he is saying his prayers…
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.
Looking into the Pool 8 Annex from the original Ogilvie’s elevator.
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.
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.
What time is it?
A buck-fifty shot for a postcard stand. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
While the stokers are gone, the pipes bringing pulverized coal down were left.
An abandoned news stand between the concourse and ticket booths. This is one of my favorite pictures from the 2000s.
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.
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.
This seemed to be the newest building on the property.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
The iconic outline of a prairie sentinel. Quintessential rural industrial architecture.
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.
Looking out of Kurth Malt a the neighbors–the silos past Electric Steel are those of the Froedert Malt Company, now gone.
One of a few rolling workbenches to keep the thousands of pulleys, cogs, and belts working properly.
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.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
The hospital is so self art deco that it seems like a film set!
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.
Looking at the side of 4B from the roof of its car shed.
Indianapolis’ beautiful downtown is in the distance, past the gas storage tank.
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.
Ruined cars abandoned in the generator hall, long after its namesake was scrapped.
The meticulously tiled dry house shower floor–cracked by frost.
A view of the hallway outside of the auditorium.
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.
An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
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.
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…
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!
An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
A super-shallow depth of field shot on the Leica Summilux.
When I looked out of the old mill, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was holding it all up.
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.
At this junction where Brewery Creek gets a breath of fresh air stands a kid holding a paintbrush: a Banksy (famous graffiti artist) ripoff.
A tunnel between the outside gate and the courtyard shared by the barracks.
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.
Like a railgun pointed at the Rockies… the boom would direct tailings–junk rock–outside of the dredge pond.
Wintertime is quiet, except for the planes overhead.
The old truck scale sits in the middle of what was Nettleton Avenue Slip.
Small rooms in the basement of the asylum were seemingly too tiny to be used, even for storage.
A divot to let more light and air into the building.
More than half a century of plans rot in the shadows, seemingly useless.
A super-long exposure of the side of the middle of Daisy Elevator, built in 1927. The oldest silos are closest to the mill and date to 1916. They were expanded toward Superior in 1927 and 1941. The total capacity is about 500,000 bushels.
These wide spools sit atop the abandoned tracks that lead to the train shed, which was later repurposed into a truck shed.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
The pits have long since been filled so the roundhouse could be used for storage.
2006. A section of the third floor that has changed a lot over the years. Compare to 2015 shot.
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.
Almost all of the doors and windows on the ground floor have been boarded, leaving the ground level very dark.
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.
The first floor of the Industrial Loft building.
From the highest roof of Ogvilvie’s, Thunder Bay looks like paradise.
The Atlas D command building. As Brutalist as it gets.
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.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
A wide view (15mm) of the shadow 4B is casting on 4A. Light leaks because of cheap camera.
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.
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.
One side of the street is demolished. The other is not.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
He had the knees of a stallion. RIP.
Pipe fittings in little drawers, lit by tea lights.
This room on the top floor of one of the oldest buildings has seemingly not changed since it was adapted for employee use. Some sections of the hospital were adapted for staff to live in. Paying Patient Ward–where capable patients were separated from wards of the state.
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.
A big sliding fire door opens onto a train dock.
A window for light and air pokes above the big arch in the hallway. Most of the interior ceilings were broad brick archways.
The old movie theatre sign was sitting right inside the sealed front doors.
The scale of the grain hoppers helps tell the story of how large Hamm’s was in its day.
The layout and design of the buildings reminded me strongly of a brewery or distillery. To the right you can see some of the retrofits by the first lumber company to buy the buildings, in the 1970s.
Shadows of the timberwork and cribbing are cast across cracked lake ice. My footprints follow cat tracks.
The man behind the curtain watches, but doesn’t say anything. Probably the smartest one in the room.
Perhaps this office was for a film studio or music producer.
Everyone loves water towers.
Like a grave marker, a single post remembers where Dock 3 stood on the bay.
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.
A bunk room, minus the bunks.
The white mark allowed for a manual RPM check on this big steel flywheel on the ground floor. Note how dark the bottom level of the mills is—that’s because all of the equipment is blocking out the light.
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded 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 light-painted portrait of one of the few remaining carts that moved everything from fresh eggs to soiled laundry through the tunnels.
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.
My favorite time to be in the brewery was sunrise. That’s the kind of light that made the brewhouse glow.
Not necessarily a children’s room.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
Harsh rail yard lighting throws shadows of broken windows against the line of boilers.
The guts of the dock are connected with a long narrow hallway. Below this section are shops and labs.
My favorite shot of the 17-story Art Deco office tower attached to the train station.
This gives you a sense for what it looks like to stand on the roof of the main production building at sunset.
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.
North of the assembly complex is a storage network of earthen and concrete bunkers.
Sunrise in SEMI. The shadow of Kurth Malt is cast across ADM-Delmar #1. Clouds behind ADM-Delmar #4 light up. It’s cold and the air smells like train grease.
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.
The train loading tower (left), and elevators. Check out that giant flagpole/lightning rod.
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.
West Elevation of the Depot. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
The elevator near the offices seemed a day’s work away from being operational
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
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.
Empty equipment racks behind a missile launcher.
“Crunch, crunch, crunch,” said the ground. “I know,” I replied.
Looking toward a void–formerly a hallway to the mineshaft–now a hole in the ground.
When Nopeming was affiliated with local farms, it often slaughtered its own livestock. This is the part of the hospital where food would be prepped, below the stage in the Service Building.
Hand painted fire extinguisher notices and a long room which I strongly suspect was a pattern cutting room.
This was not always the top of the elevator.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
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.
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.
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.
Showering red-hot coke fresh from the furnaces near the Coal Tower (in the back) was the Quenching Tower’s duty (front).
The workshop and parts room was full of light and meticulously sorted bolts, nuts, washers, gaskets, and all sorts of specialty hardware.
Below the pressure gauges are rows of little pipe fitting drawers.