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 aft lifeboat survived auction, although now all it holds is an emergency ladder to help men who’ve fallen overboard get on deck.
Energy conserving window plastic does no good when the doors are all open and the heat’s off.
I didn’t test the rungs, but I bet the view was incredible.
Not necessarily a children’s room.
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.
One of a few rolling workbenches to keep the thousands of pulleys, cogs, and belts working properly.
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.
When I looked out of the old mill, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was holding it all up.
The side of the maintenance shops, still home to several disassembled electric carts.
Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.
In a protected wing of a launcher are these empty server racks where guidance and control computers were stored.
A panorama next to a long abandoned adit. The tram has seen better days.
The underground portions of the engine shop were mostly filled in.
The hoist room, before it was used for storage.
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
Sunbeams under the sintering belt. Support cradles for the wires crossing the factory are falling down.
I really like the way this high-ceilinged room is decaying. Well, decayed. It’s demolished now.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
Typical bunk rooms in MS-20.
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.
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.
West Elevation of the Depot. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
Indianapolis’ beautiful downtown is in the distance, past the gas storage tank.
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 light-painted portrait of one of the few remaining carts that moved everything from fresh eggs to soiled laundry through the tunnels.
Sarah in Miller Creek Drain.
This section retains water and is mostly shaded, so moss has found a way to live in the concrete.
The light next to this acid tank was perfect, thanks to a gaping hole in the roof.
Below the pressure gauges are rows of little pipe fitting drawers.
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…
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.
These ruins of buildings recovered acid from the explosives line to be recycled.
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 railing were jealous of both the bricks and bits, and chose instead to dissolve like this.
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.
The crumbling building barely contained the colors inside of it.
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
Empty equipment racks behind a missile launcher.
Without proper pressure, the steering engine was ineffective.
I believe these hooks were meant for hanging filters to dry.
Looking at the side of 4B from the roof of its car shed.
I don’t think we’re anywhere near maximum pressure anymore.
Days after the long-flooded basement was pumped out. Note the water lines!
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.
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.
Different colors stained the small panes on the top floor. For once, it seemed more ridiculous to not be inside an abandoned factory.
A portrait of the second school of McConnell, built in 1937.
Camera: Pentax 67.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
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.
A self portrait from more than a decade ago.
A bunk room, minus the bunks.
An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
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.
A buck-fifty shot for a postcard stand. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
Shadows of the timberwork and cribbing are cast across cracked lake ice. My footprints follow cat tracks.
A sharp turn in the coatings department twists the steel out of sight.
“Crunch, crunch, crunch,” said the ground. “I know,” I replied.
On the outside of the steel silos and headhouse is a riveted bulge that does not look like the silos. Inside is this elevator, a rudimentary (read: dangerous) and old (read: dangerous) freight elevator.
This gives you a sense for what it looks like to stand on the roof of the main production building at sunset.
The gothic landing between balcony and classroom level and the ground floor.
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 wide view (15mm) of the shadow 4B is casting on 4A. Light leaks because of cheap camera.
The man behind the curtain watches, but doesn’t say anything. Probably the smartest one in the room.
Camera: Pentax 67. Film: Kodak Ektar 100.
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.
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.
No ambiguity here… miners, check in at this office.
A simple porcelain fountain in the original brewhouse. The water fountain, no doubt, is not original.
Seven TV sets and not one shows my reflection. I’d also like to point out not two of these are the same.
Everyone loves water towers.
The American Victory next to M, seen late at night.
One leg of the headframe meets the hoist house. Two cranes are rusted in place.
The guts of the dock are connected with a long narrow hallway. Below this section are shops and labs.
The concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
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.
ADM overshadows the Meal Elevator. The cleared area behind is now home to Surley Brewery.
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.
Shadows of the skylights form a backdrop for rust-welded machines.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
A big sliding fire door opens onto a train dock.
My favorite shot of the 17-story Art Deco office tower attached to the train station.
Harsh rail yard lighting throws shadows of broken windows against the line of boilers.
Where the drain changes shape from round concrete to arched brick.
The huge snowfalls of 2011 brought new collapses across the buildings.
A typical room in Birtle.
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.
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
In the quality assurance labs there is a old safe.
These aluminum powder kegs were forgotten in storage.
The scale of the grain hoppers helps tell the story of how large Hamm’s was in its day.
One of two projectors, still set to run old 3D flicks.
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.
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…
Like a railgun pointed at the Rockies… the boom would direct tailings–junk rock–outside of the dredge pond.
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.
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
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.
I wonder when fluorescent lighting was added.
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.
Where staff could sleep.
The elevator near the offices seemed a day’s work away from being operational
On the left is the 1907 elevator section and its 1926 expansion is on the right. Interesting how the century-old silos seem to be faring better. Windows provided light to the underground conveyor tunnels, which were used to bring grain out of the silos by gravity.
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.
The great entrance to the Service Building shows the detail once present in the old hospital.
The pits have long since been filled so the roundhouse could be used for storage.
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
A divot to let more light and air into the building.
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.
Negative twenty looks much warmer in retrospect, wouldn’t you say? Taken through the window of a gantry crane cab.
What looks to be a skip for repairing the dock, in the concrete steeple.
The train loading tower (left), and elevators. Check out that giant flagpole/lightning rod.
From factory to skate park to restaurant. This is in the skate park stage. The buildings to the right are demolished now, and in their place are hockey rinks.
The ice reflects the blue sky on the rust. The sunset blasts through the concrete pillars holding it all up.
What time is it?
From the highest roof of Ogvilvie’s, Thunder Bay looks like paradise.
Hand painted fire extinguisher notices and a long room which I strongly suspect was a pattern cutting room.
The first floor hallway between conference rooms and the diesel lab at the center of the facility
While the stokers are gone, the pipes bringing pulverized coal down were left.
A tunnel connecting the two larger caves in the hill; those that Jacob vented in the rear. The vents are still extant!
The missiles were stored without fuel, to help prevent mishaps. This is the fuel pumping building and one of the tanks.
In an old ward, two men would have shared this room.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
A tunnel between the outside gate and the courtyard shared by the barracks.
One side of the street is demolished. The other is not.
Employee lockers near the stage, Service Building.
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.
“GREETING FROM BEAUTIFUL GARY–WISH YOU WERE HERE!” My postcard shot.
Looking toward a void–formerly a hallway to the mineshaft–now a hole in the ground.
More than half a century of plans rot in the shadows, seemingly useless.
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.
Ruined cars abandoned in the generator hall, long after its namesake was scrapped.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
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.
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.
Almost all of the doors and windows on the ground floor have been boarded, leaving the ground level very dark.
Thunder Bay Elevator, now stands without a headhouse. Around the silos, a few shacks still stand.
A staircase leads behind three of the dock chutes, seemingly to nowhere. The lower on the left held one end of a string of lights above the dock.
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.
A typical building from the expanded starch line.
This seemed to be the newest building on the property.
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.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
Before each warhead was crated, it was inspected.
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.
Pipe fittings in little drawers, lit by tea lights.
These wide spools sit atop the abandoned tracks that lead to the train shed, which was later repurposed into a truck shed.
An unplanned skylight. It’s unclear why some parts of the building had wooden roofing, while others were highly reinforced with brick.
The hike to the village is steep. This is looking into the valley from the halfway point.
Some parts of the doctor’s apartment in the Administration Tower were decidedly upscale. Look at the beautiful ironwork on that sink!
In its last years, the church had a congregation of only about 100. It opened with 1.700…
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.
Grain is taken from the bottom of the silos through a conveyor in a tunnel. These blowers keep the air in the tunnel fresh.
Beautiful doors separated the boiler room and the sugar mill. Can you imagine the gracefully curving steps in a power plant today?
An alarm panel in the powerpplant, now demolished.
Small rooms in the basement of the asylum were seemingly too tiny to be used, even for storage.
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.
A bumper sticker with the usual tagline. Note the detail on the radiator!
The underside of the ore dock in winter. Snow drifts across the dock from the frozen lake.
The meticulously tiled dry house shower floor–cracked by frost.
Taken as I drove out of Silverton, CO. One of my favorite landscapes of 2015. Want a print? Email me!
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.
The dock is still lit at night and it casts shadows over the rust-welded ore doors.
Taken several years before the tornado story when the weather, and the condition of the buildings, were nice.
Beautiful details in the plaster moulding have been preserved by the sheer height of this room between the cathedral and auditorium.
Go on and jump in, if you want, there’s even a ladder to climb out.
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.
Showering red-hot coke fresh from the furnaces near the Coal Tower (in the back) was the Quenching Tower’s duty (front).
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.
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.
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.
The city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.
A long exposure of the city glow illuminating the roof, highlighting the victorian and gothic influences on the brew house.
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.
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 exterior of the factory is unassuming
My favorite time to be in the brewery was sunrise. That’s the kind of light that made the brewhouse glow.
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
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.
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.
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
This floor of the workhouse had corkscrew conveyors–big augers–in the floor to move material around. Most of the walls that were metal were missing, leaving the concrete structure and open doors.
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.
The laundry building, where many of the tunnels came to an end. It looks very East Coast industrial to me.
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.
This was not always the top of the elevator.
A damaged roof channeled rain onto the adobe walls, cutting them in half. In the distance, a preserved house and the ruins of the Colmor School.
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.
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.
North of the assembly complex is a storage network of earthen and concrete bunkers.
Looking through the washer that is the first stop for the dredgings.
Approaching the tunnel I heard about for so long…
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.
Not ghosts. Slow-moving explorers’ shadows create a ghostly effect in the ‘Old Ward’–the second floor of the Service Building.