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.
Aaron by the concentrator.
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.
The green-tinted skylight makes this a bright green corridor, the lower of the two skyways connecting the two workhouses.
Looking out from my perch close to the Kam toward the Ogilvie head house. To the left is a newer concrete annex, probably built in the years it bore the name Saskatchewan Pool 8.
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.
I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.
The stonework was done by a local handyman of sorts, who was also a guard at a nearby insane asylum. He did a great job, it seems to me.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
Before each warhead was crated, it was inspected.
This ruined skyway looks like it should be at ground level because of the growth, but it’s actually the second floor of the building.
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.
A rooftop scene.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
Stained windows and sheet metal catch the sunset from across the Ohio River.
These ceramic bricks were likely from the fireproof tunnel that connected the elevators.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
In case of fire, workers on higher floors would take the emergency slides to escape.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
One of my favorite images from my stay… Note the snowed-over road in the distance! This is looking toward Animas Forks.
Standing on a caustic tank with my head out a roof hatch, I look at the sign of the last brand to be produced here.
The truck scale is closed at Lena, MB.
Gaskets still organized on nails beside the power plant. This used to be a maintenance room, but since its roof and walls were torn down, it’s not any kind of room.
The cladding on the 1926 elevator is beginning to submit to the high velocity prairie winds.
Between the repair shops and the stock department is this odd little structure. No, the walls are not level–it’s not your eyes. The shops slope left, the structure slopes right.
Not a part of the Foundry, but the Enclosed Body Building. The rebar welded over the windows and the rust patterns with the lighting makes this geometric photos one of my favorites from the year.
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.
Snow weight collapsed this section of McKee… the newest section. The brick buildings always outlive cheap metal ones.
On the National Mine property are two shafts, both serving the same workings. This one seems to have gotten some upgrades in the 1960s, judging from the condition of the metal.
A morning shower made the plant’s metal siding shake… probably nothing, though, compared to when the furnaces were blasting. The objects on the ground are molten ore containers.
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.
The corner of the elevator… lumber armored with steel for fireproofing and water resistance.
At first glance, I thought the center building was a hoist house because of the shape of the window. Now I think this was built as a warehouse and later used as a laboratory.
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.
Sheet metal over the windows. A red boot sole in the tumbleweeds. Is it inside, or outside?
Easier-to-demolish parts of the power plant were torched apart. Catwalks to nowhere meant lots of dead ends.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
This is a typical view of the factory; most of it was long hallways flanked by piles of equipment and access points to maintain them.
This skyway, built to help seal off two parts of the complex during an out of control fire, was probably too rotten to burn by the time I saw it.
Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.
Looking across the ruined skyway that connects the two elevators. I wanted to walk across it, but my exploring parter held me back.
A colorful makeshift wall.
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
At the top of the Head Frame, over the silo, a space is hollowed-out for ore cars to dump their load before going back underground in search of copper.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
Vines are finding their way into the roundhouse.
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.
In the mountainside are a number of air shafts, indicating where the tunnels traced under the rocky surface.
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.
Old boathouses near the dock.
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.
The steel sea leg is so heavy it requires a huge counterweight that travels the height of the elevator.
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.
The second most important building at Prize Mine.
The steel awning and its elegant staircase are one of my favorite features near the old carpentry shop. The gymnasium-theater is in the background.
The left building is active, the right building is not, though both were built as Wilson Bros buildings. The skyway was rough, inside and out, but I liked the small gate in the bottom of it–it reminded me of a castle. Skyways like these were a fireproofing measure.
The whole smelter ran on gravity… elevating the various raw materials and working with them until at the bottom of the furnace, copper poured out.
The side of Stelco and its scrubber-stacks. This is demolished now.
When I revisited the mine in 2013, the hoists were scrapped and sitting by the road.
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 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.