signs

Canal Park from Temple Opera’s Roof

Canal Park (see bridge) and some of old downtown, formerly Duluth City Hall and Police Department (center-left). At least one star has appeared in the sky…

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.

By Pass Stokerside

A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.

Brach’s Headquarters

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

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.

Unsafe Dock Conditions

A big sign marks where the elevated walkway is severed where Dock 2 used to meet Dock 3, now gone.

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.

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.

Milwaukee Road E70 (Ektar 120)

An engine on display outside the Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge, MT. This was a typical electric locomotive used by The Milwaukee Road.

One Ear

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

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’.

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.

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.

ADM-Delmar #1- No Clearance

Looking at ADM-1 from beside ADM-4, back when ADM-4 had a train shed and ADM-1 had a skyway. In the thick woods beneath the skyway was a long time homeless camp… most of its residents were very friendly.

Whiskey Barrels and Terra Cotta

Between the Old Crow and Old Taylor bonded warehouses are some of the fouled barrels, now the only ones left, which were left to rot in the elements. Nearby in a loading bay that has obviously been disused longer than the rest of the property, terra cotta roofing waits in crates.

Four Sisters Generator

One of the generators, weeks before it was taken apart to be shipped to another power plant somewhere else.

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.

Brown Hotel, Springer, NM

The Brown Hotel still stands, but has recently gone out of business again. One of the nice things about historic buildings in New Mexico, though, is things tend to stay around a lot longer than if they were subjected to lots of rain and snow. It will probably be reopened eventually.

Wort Cooler Silhouette

My favorite time to be in the brewery was sunrise. That’s the kind of light that made the brewhouse glow.

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.

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.

Bucket Lift

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

Dominion- Offices

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

Bldg 100

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

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.

Fort William Elevator Ghost Sign I

The Western Elevator’s old moniker looks over Fort William (the neighborhood). Snow falls over Mount McKay in the background. This elevator is still active… the only active elevator in Fort William proper.

Not An Exit

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

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.

Fume Lines

One level below where the cotton was nitrated, the fumes must have been powerful. This floor had several massive ventilation fans in its walls.

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)!

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.

I Z E

Miners at the turn of the century had better taste in typography than the average person does today.

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…

18 Pound Steam

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

Tag 4-199, 1955

The batch tag specifies some of the technical properties of the silk worked here.

Eighth Floor Warning

This is one of my favorite images of the year because of the color, light and textures. Someone told me once that the medium of photographers is not film or digital sensors, but rather shadows. This photo is evidence of that.

Beet Levels

This volume gauge could be read from 30 feet away, which is useful when the control panels and valves are that far away.

Live Girls 4 to 2

From my archives–the NorShor as an innocent gentleman’s club, called ‘the NorShor Experience’.

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.

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.

Trains at General Mills “A”

A passing cloud almost looks like a puff of smoke from the trimmed smokestack of Consolidated D. In the lower corner you can see a little Stonehenge that someone with a sense of humor and heavy equipment built.

Kurth Malting- Cupola

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

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.

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.

Bldg 106

This building looked like some sort of office.

Branding

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

Beulah, MB

This elevator was built in 1922 and was used until the passing rails were removed in the mid-1970s.

GMF Ladder

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

Distillery Door

The back door into the old distillery building. Not castle-like at all, sadly.

Prize Mine Sign

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

We Built This City on Flour

Looking out upon Mill City through the lens of FLOUR, highlighted in pink and low clouds. This sign has recently been converted into LED lighting.

Laundry

The laundry building, where many of the tunnels came to an end. It looks very East Coast industrial to me.

Lunchroom

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

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.

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.

A Century at Lyric

After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.

Stone Arch Lights

Pillsbury from across the Mississippi River and Stone Arch Bridge from the roof of the Washburn Crosby Elevator (aka Gold Medal Flour).

Mockstock

Shelves in in the coloring department, where hundreds of different mixer lids are splashed with hardened glass dyes. Color thanks to a yellow-tinted skylight.

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.

Stay Glassy Minneapolis

“But everyone I used to know was either dead or in prison
So I came back to Minneapolis this time I think I’m gonna stay” -Tom Waits

101-B

An original stencil-brushed sign.

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.

Max Pressure

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

Retired Marquee

The main stage and the retired (and in this instance, scrambled) marquee that will be repaired and reinstalled above Superior Street. A former manager of the building I used to photograph Nopeming with told me that the letters for the Art Deco tower are stored somewhere in the NorShor to this day, but I did not see them (and frankly, I doubt it).

Bldg 253

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

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.

Old Sign

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

Convex Selfie

The north side of the plant is modern 60s industrial architecture, meaning massive open spaces with no personality. This mirror is the most interesting thing I could find.

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.

Film: Work on Top

Kodak Tri-X 400, Leica M7. Serious enough to write across the side of the tank, but not serious enough to have a sign made.

ADM-Delmar #4- Belt Spider

Every elevator has sets of these conveyor switches. Grain comes down through the top chute and the bottom chute rotates to move the flow onto various belts around the plant by gravity. The cross belt is another switch and the bridge belt brings the flow to the other half of the elevator.

Beauty Shop

In the basement were all the valves to control the flow of municipal steam through the building. This hasty hand letting was beside one such valve, near a carved brick with a name and ‘1934’ under it.

Dryhouse

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.

Gauges

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

Solvent Recovery Line

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

Best Flour Panorama

The back of the neon sign before it was converted to LED lighting. The image is mirrored so it can be read.

STOPlease

The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.

Campaign Tracker

A handmade sign tracks the progress through the current beet campaign. For this factory, it was about 30 years ago. Perhaps the idea was to pit shifts against each other.

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.

Whistle Blasts for Fires

In the days before a centralized fire alarm system, coded whistle blasts would warn when and where a fire broke out.

Calumet Elevator- Coal Room Door

This corner of the building was the coal room, used to feed the two big boilers inside. The steam equipment has been replaced with electric, so this section may not have changed much in the past decades.

Fe(r)mentation

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

Entrance to BOM

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

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.”

Water Tower

Looking out at the town water tower (which I love) from the sugar mill (which I also love).

Main Gate

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

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!

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.

ADM Labs- LIVE

Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.

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.

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.

Gas Pump

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

Steam Downstream

In the steam plant, steam pipes bundled in canvas and asbestos criss-cross the walls.

Servir

Serve [unknown] Build… What do you think the middle says? Tell me in the comments.

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.

Corner Logo

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

Fort Liege Sign

A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.

Dock 2 at Sunset

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

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.

Packing Conveyor

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

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.

Flavor Fridges, 2005

2005. Flavored beers are still popular. The flavor concentrates were stored in this bank of fridges.

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!

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.

Yeast Stairs

A caustic tank in one of the unremodeled brewhouse backrooms.

Abandoned News Stand

An abandoned news stand between the concourse and ticket booths. This is one of my favorite pictures from the 2000s.

Chateau Cross

Outside the Chateau, where the fuel oil tank blocks the chapel.

Sign of Intruders

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Row 189

This machine was last overhauled in February 1955, and last turned out Crepe silk, probably dress material.

Pool 8 Door

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

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.

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!

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.

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