signs

James R. Barker III

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.

Director’s Office

A decaying door of the Medical Director for the unit. Because this is from one of the outbuildings and not Administration, I doubt that this was the Medical Director of Norwich State Hospital’s office.

ADM-Delmar #4- Basement Bell

Workers in the basement tunnels had to communicate with the workhouse operators 100 feet above and vice versa. Alarms and bells were installed to signal trouble over the sound of the elevator machinery.

Holmfield, MB- Harrison Milling

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.

Brach’s Headquarters

The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.

Pillar 120

Every timber pillar was numbered for maintenance purposes.

Institutional Prism

Each room is painted a different hue, so the light reflecting into the hallway carries those colors. The blue padding on the left is for one of the padded rooms…

Agitator 233

The top floor of the nitrating house was full of switches and breakers for the operation below, each bearing a label and number. Nowadays everything is printed, but when INAAP was built, all these signs were painted by hand.

Hospital Portico

When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.

Max Pressure

I don’t think we’re anywhere near maximum pressure anymore.

Corner Logo

The corner of the original buildings still carry the Lemp logo!

Power Plant

An old stoker in a power plant that was abandoned long before the mill next to it, by all indications. Sugar mills burned dry beet pulp pellets for fuel.

Service Window

A walk-up service window on the side of an administration building of some sort. I have a feeling the buildings were color coded.

From the Guthrie

Looking at the top of the Washburn Crosby elevator from a mirrored window in the Guthrie Theater.

Vivacious Veteran

No, it’s not your Mac’s desktop, it’s a beautiful Lake Superior night. Taken from near the former Pittsburgh and Reading Anthracite Plant. You can see the frame that used to hold the lifeboat that was auctioned in 2006 to the left of the Pilot House.

Solvent Recovery Line

Solvent pumping buildings, designed to explode upwards rather than outwards in an emergency, are forgotten near the milkweed.

GMF Ladder

Ladders crawl the back of the signs. Graffiti writers’ right of passage.

Fermenter Sixteen

Detail view of one of the fermenting tanks, still set-up for the distillery tours that no doubt took place when there last were such things. Nevertheless, the capacity of this tank multiplied across these all over the distillery floor really shows the power this company once had.

As Iron Clyde

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.

Family Visitation Room

One of the former sanitorium common rooms. Its interior is at the end of one of the wards and is lined with glass brick.

Entrance to BOM

Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.

Brewery Tower

Lit by the glow of St. Paul’s West Seventh bars, highlighted by the cool blue of the sleepy section of South Side. This castle-like tower can be seen for miles around town; a Landmark at the brewery that brewed a brew by the that name.

Bldg. B

I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)

Gauges

Below the pressure gauges are rows of little pipe fitting drawers.

Kentucky Castle

Zachary Taylor’s very own Scottish castle, spring-side in the Kentucky backcountry. Boarded and waiting, but in surprisingly good condition, considering the decades. I especially love the tower on the right side of the frame.

Yeast Stairs

A caustic tank in one of the unremodeled brewhouse backrooms.

Bucket Lift

With the maintenance door open you can see the buckets on in the vertical conveyor.

Four On The Floor

Four A.M. was the best time to be on the main assembly line. This was about shortly after most of the machinery was removed.

Pillsbury A’s Stone Fascade

From Main Street, looking straight up at the A Mill, only the silence makes one think that nobody’s still inside, grinding grain into Pillsbury’s Best.

MPE3- 3 Ship

A broken window looking through the First Aid Room and into the Control Room in charge of directing grain into ships. You can see one of the large conveyors on the right, clad in green. Chutes and staircases intertwine seemingly randomly through the big empty spaces.

Bldg 253

This building seemed like a pump house or compressor house. It was full of empty concrete mounts.

Ogilvie’s- Ship Gallery Arch (Arista 100)

When the ship loaders were added, a doorway was cut through the metal silo to make a room for the grain handling equipment. Note the dust sensor in the corner of the torch-cut archway.

Like a Ghost Town

This was my first view of Harris Machinery’s property… it was strange to find what looked like a ghost town five minutes from downtown Minneapolis!

Frontier Gas Station Sign

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.

To Station – To Offices

Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!

Lost Time – (C)SUBSTREET

I wish I knew what has become of this great one-of-a-kind sign that used to brag how many days the Clyde Iron factory has gone without a serious accident. Update: It’s hanging in one of the smaller venue spaces behind the bar.

Under #203

The elevator works on gravity… this is where a conveyor belt was to move the grain toward the main elevator to be loaded into ships.

Safety Pays

It remains unexplained what ‘serious results’ may stem from not reporting an accident, but when labor was cheap and unorganized I doubt anyone asked.

Dominion- Offices

Dominion was acquired by UGG, which designated the elevator ‘M’. Their offices still have safety signage.

Barrel Conveyor

Barrels were prepared across the street, then moved across the road with a special conveyor, seen crashed here. This is down the road from Old Taylor, and was probably a part of the Old Crow operation.

ADM-Delmar #1- When Entering Grain Bins

One of my favorite signs, informing workers about to descend into the open-top grain bins about basic procedures. This was in ADM-Annex 1 (connected to the cleaning house via skyway), so it will never be seen again, unless the sign lands luckily when the elevator is demolished.

Bitshaker

The bits with handles are the filters with screens of different sizes. Larger grain particles would be stopped at the top for further reduction via the mills, while the powder at the bottom would be run through another bolter–one of the refinement stages in flour production.

Old Sign

This sign was important when trains ran the length of the elevator.

Isabella, MB- Service at Cost

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.

Swinging Light

It was obvious which parts of the hospital were the newest, by their relative utter self destruction. It’s comforting to the Cubical Dwellers, I think, to know that as soon as the power and plumbing are disconnected that all hell will break loose and dismantle their suspended ceilings, drywall boxes and fluorescent suns in no time at all.

101-B

An original stencil-brushed sign.

Siftter Chutes

Before developers saw to cut and cut the flour mills inside Pillsbury, they stood at the ready beside various purposeful chutes the traversed the floors of between sorters. These machines were belt-driven by the power of Pillsbury’s Mississippi headraces and turbines, the force of which notoriously shook the building’s foundations themselves. The wheels would change the grade of the flour, or the size of the dust produced from crushing the kernels.

Pipe Dept.

Although most of the buildings were open and empty, a few carried signs.

Vintage Scale Hoppers

Two steel hoppers supported by counterweights and springs, which were used to weigh incoming grain loads before being deposited in the silos beneath this floor. Garner is another way to say “big measuring tank”, if you were wondering. I fell in love with all the tubes and chutes on this floor.

18 Pound Steam

“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”

Dept 9136

The warped floors caught my eye in this room too–a symptom of turning off heat and not patching a leaking roof in the midwest.

Elevator Shaft

The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.

Dock 2 at Sunset

Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.

Dept 5157

In the corner of most of the factory floors, freight elevators flanked restrooms to leave more central space for machines and their masters.

Side Door

A side door for the shop area with ivy crawling toward it.

Consolidated D/General Mills A

General Mills bought Consolidated Elevator’s “D” in 1943 and renamed it “A,” though no additional elevators have followed from that firm to date. Visible on the right is the first annex, built along with the elevator in 1909.

Steering Instructions

In case one forgot… mounted behind the appropriate valves. Who hasn’t memorized the appropriate valve positions?

Enough to Hang By

Asbestos rope isn’t something you can buy at Home Depot anymore, but it’s fire and heat resistant stuff; great for industrial work, like in a sugar mill.

Auditorium

An old sign directed patients and visitors back to toward the central parts of the hospital.

End of the Mill

Here, the concentrated gold (and silver, and zinc, I would guess) would be loaded into trucks bound for the smelter.

Department Sign

I found a historical photo of this room showing 10-foot high machines with wires hanging by the mile from looms and schematic charts.

Gas Pump

Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.

TCRT East Shop II

A firedoor dating to the original car barn is roped off, anticipating demolition.

Lunchroom

An employee lunchroom with every door and window covered in vented steel.

Prize Mine Sign

The mine was built with stone, wood, and steel. It’s in good condition.

Oil Cars

Only two machines sit on the rails in the roundhouse, both oil cars. It’s not clear whether there’s anything inside either, but they have to have been placed here before 1970, when the turntable outside these numbered doors was removed.

Boarded Barracks II

Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.

First North and Banks

The Osborn Block (front) and the Twohy (rear) at sunset. In the distance, you can almost make out Globe Elevators. One of my favorite photos of 2013.

Railroad Depot

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.

MPE3- Manpower

The control room for Manitoba Pool Elevator #3 was the most modern of any I saw in Thunder Bay. Apparently, 25 men were working on the day this elevator shut down.

Coke Batter B Control

The view from the larry, looking out at the overgrowing coke oven top. Papers listed the order of the charges for each oven, noting the sticky doors and persistent leaks. Emergency respirators and rescue gear was stored close, as long exposure to emissions from the rusty hatches could make worker pass out on the top of the ovens.

Double Con

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.

Restore It (Toned Medium Format Film)

Shot on a Pentax 67 in monochrome and toned to match the set. For some time the marquee was lit at night to advertise the fact that the city bought it and planned to apply for credits to repair it.

Holmfield, MB- Harrison Mill

The Harrison flour mill, completed in 1897 and expanded in 1901 and 1902. The tunnel that I am standing on probably transported grain from the elevator to the mill. Medium Format.

Kurth Malting- Cupola

Kurth bears a ghost sign. Recently, its main sign was destroyed by graffiti artists in 2015.

The Adler

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.

Time Lost

Behind the main shaft is this familiar industrial sight… a running count of days since the last injury.

Mine Evacuation Alarm

The shaft house, where hydraulic steel doors allowed or denied entry into the mine shaft. Overhead is a light and alarm. If it sounds, the mine is being evacuated, and you best not go in and best stay the hell out of the way. Locals dump tires here, now.

Sign of Intruders

The last time the city sealed this door, they must have been changing out old road signs.

Mixing Series Number Six

Between lines of Number Sixes right after sun rose behind them. This photo shows how extremely lush the grounds are that make getting around in some places impossible.

Levels

A 8-foot-tall volume indicator that could be read from across the beet boiler floor–convenient when the controls are 20 feet away.

Ogilvie Elevator Sign

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.

Sunset on Osborn

It is unclear when the ‘Superior Warehouse Company’ sign was put up, but it was likely around 1916-1917, when maps indicate it served as a dry goods warehouse, operated by Twohy-Eimon Mercantile Company. The Sivertson sign was likely added in the mid-1980s. In this image I tried to preserve the colors the bricks turn at sunset.

Snowed In Dryhouse

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.

Fe(r)mentation

Note that the back of Stockhouse #4 is missing. A year later, Fermentation was on the ground too.

Success

My first night on Minneapolis’ Lighthouse–now an old picture and distant memory… I still remember the exhilaration and the view of the city off one edge of the roof and the Mississippi River over the other.

440 Volts

The secret sweet-yet-salty center of the nameless factoryscape. Home base, tuned to rule the AC and turn out Product X at record rates, I’m sure.

Huron-Portland Cement, Duluth Plant

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!

Old Ward

Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.

The Three Hundreds

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.

Argo Tunnel, 2015

Looking into the Argo Tunnel at its Idaho Springs portal. I was hoping to see tracks and a steel door, but found a busy crew of environmental workers installing a pipe between the bulkhead and new water plant.

Headquarters in Fog

The headquarters for the plant was in the middle of it. It’s abandoned but well preserved–a strange sight in Gary, Indiana.

Branding

To make sure the tourists aren’t scared off, the city painted the side of the elevator with one of its historic names.

Boarded Brew House

From the street, it’s clear that almost every window and door had boards over it, but not every building had a roof. Silly priorities.

Pool 8 Door

The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.

Not An Exit

A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.

Superior Street

Superior Street, as seen from the roof of the Temple Opera Block. Below is one of the sealed sidewalk elevator hatches.

Western Cable RR and Lemp Malting

A sunset shot of the Western Cable Railroad depot in the middle of the Lemp brewery complex, with the malting house in the background. Western used to have an exclusive shipping contract with Lemp.

Flare-Ups

If you’re an Astra-Zenica representative and want to use this for some magazine ad, I’ll charge you a reasonable $10,000. Email me (ha)!

Packing Conveyor

Looking at the ghost sign from a rust-locked cement conveyor that linked the silos with a packing warehouse.

Beulah, MB- Notices

Inside the Beulah elevator were all of the original notices and notices. These are instructions for filling rail cars with flour sacks.

Eagle Mine Sign

I assume this sign used to sit near the highway that snakes around the mine and town.

Direct Drop Off

One of my favorite signs. I imagine something like this happened when it was put up: “Wow, that’s a big sign.” “Yeah, you’re going to be putting it up in the elevator at the service door.” “Have you thought of may locking the door?” “What?” “You know, lock it so that there’s no risk, sign aside, of us going through and falling to our death.” “Shut up and just install the damn sign.”

Ogilvie’s Royal Household Ghost Sign

A century-old ghost sign for Royal House Flour was preserved after a building is built above and through it! Looking from the north annex elevator toward the headhouse.

Bldg 100

Some sort of materials handling building, judging by the construction.

Storage Vault Door

One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.

Rock Crusher

These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.

Two Economies

HDR matrix panorama. Looking from the grain elevators, now doomed, toward the city between the flour mill’s water tower and tile elevator’s neon sign, the old and new economies seem almost united. Yet the financial centers rise in reality to shadow the now-abandoned industry and manufacturing. The way of things, I’m told.

Main Gate

The main gate, as seen in 2005. It hasn’t changed much since then.

Fort William Elevator

Looking toward Fort William (Western) Elevator from the top of Superior Elevator. Fort William is bordered on the south and east by this wide, winding railyard. Note the pretty and quaint brick offices of the Western.

Shelter in the Pane

Kansas is known for tornados. Think ‘Wizard of Oz’. That, considered with the fact that the workers were surrounded by bombs and bomb making materials called for lots of earthen shelters, just in case.

10 Operators 5 Casuals

“Ballistite is a smokeless propellant made from two high explosives, nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. It was developed and patented by Alfred Nobel in the late 19th century.” -Wikipedia.

Devan

Devan setting up his 4×5 camera.

Film: Juice Levels

Thick glass windows allow workers to check the beet juice levels in this steel tank. You can tell by the reinforcement that it had a lot of liquid and had to hold against immense pressure. Kodak Tri-X 400/Leica M7.

Be C- Watch You- Step

A cracked sign at dock-level, where loading boats would be tied below the taconite conveyors. All across the surface of the concrete dock were taconite pellets, like slippery little marbles. One wrong step could put a worker in the water, which is a bad, bad place to be.

Old Central & The Antenna Farm

Looking up the hill from the rooftop of the Temple Opera Block. The downtown casino (left) looks far closer to its original use as a Sears Roebuck department store than it does today. Behind it is the blighted Carter Hotel, one of many abandoned buildings near the former Orpheum.

Biker

A taste of Superior culture.

Original Glucose Line

A facade that tells the story of demolition and neglect. The sign on the garage door indicates that if one finds themselves there, that they enter the buildings at their own risk. If only property owners in the US took this philosophy!

One Ear

Standing between pockets 1 and 2. You brought hearing protection, right?

Paint Shop

Different doors for different vehicles, I would guess. White Pine Mine used tire-based vehicles, rather than track-based, making it pretty different than other mines I’ve been to.

The Danger Line

Some warnings on the older battery which was visibly older than its eastern counterpart. This set of batteries had no railing between the side of the ovens and a long drop onto railroad tracks… I like this picture because it shows the effects of the heat and corrosive gasses on the area around the ovens.

Armor Stacks

From a distance (here, Union Yards), you can still see ARMOUR spelled out on the smokestack in white brick.

Sinterband 3

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.

Workmen’s Compensation

Funny how sensitive modern English speakers have become to gendered language. I doubt the workers here–almost all female–were offended by this posting for ‘Workmen’s Compensation’.

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