The Dock 5 sign at track level. Probably as an aid to sailors reboarding their vessels.
An original stencil-brushed sign.
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.
The house across from the Harris offices were decorated in a unique way.
“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.
One thing I like about the oppressive globalist-wrought future is the idea of numerically subdividing spaces; my geek side sort of wants to live in a flat that can be sorted by as Dewey Decimal-like code.
ZC was sure proud of his castle!
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
An employee lunchroom with every door and window covered in vented steel.
The fantastic red elevator that is Pool #61, built 1928.
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.
To make sure the tourists aren’t scared off, the city painted the side of the elevator with one of its historic names.
Before each warhead was crated, it was inspected.
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.
Ektar 100/Mamiya 6. A ghost town near Martinsdale, where the market (pictured) served as the train stop.
A bumper sticker with the usual tagline. Note the detail on the radiator!
Behind a nurse’s station.
In case power was lost, this manual signal could direct trains on and off the taconite trestle. Turning the pole would change the color of the light on top and the shape of the metal flags.
I wish I had the equipment then that I have now… I look back at these 10-year-old pictures and can’t ignore all the grain.
The historic entrance of the mill, alongside the (relatively) new Great Western offices.
Shadows of the trees from the materials yard.
All of the fire alarms had been triggered.
In the Lime House, the sunset picked-up the last light of day to make this image. Lime is used in the beet sugar refinement process to reduce the acidity of the beet juice mixture.
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
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.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
At sunrise the fog rose near the solvent recovery line. You can barely read the “XXX” warning.
Bricks from the demolished buildings.
“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
Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.
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.
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.
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.
A small stage in one of the barracks.
The boiler doors are beautiful, and feature the name of the smelter and mine company. If you like these, check my article on the Mitchell Yards of Hibbing, MN.
Fire doors and penis talk.
The sign room with glass letters, words, and numbers.
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.
This volume gauge could be read from 30 feet away, which is useful when the control panels and valves are that far away.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
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.
The back of the neon sign before it was converted to LED lighting. The image is mirrored so it can be read.
It remains unexplained what ‘serious results’ may stem from not reporting an accident, but when labor was cheap and unorganized I doubt anyone asked.
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.
I love that the administration building–almost 100 years old now–still carries the original name.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
Hand painted fire extinguisher notices and a long room which I strongly suspect was a pattern cutting room.
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)
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.
Can you imagine workers in a food plant smoking on the job today?
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
With the maintenance door open you can see the buckets on in the vertical conveyor.
One of Martinsdale’s defunct businesses perpendicular to the depot. Recall that Martinsdale is a T-town.
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.
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.
Looking out at the town water tower (which I love) from the sugar mill (which I also love).
Kurth bears a ghost sign. Recently, its main sign was destroyed by graffiti artists in 2015.
The Engine House’s boiler, which would have been fired all day all day, virtually from the day the shop opened until the day it closed.
This elevator was built in 1922 and was used until the passing rails were removed in the mid-1970s.
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.
Model: Devan. Instagram: sextmachine
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
A bridge crosses the main street of the village; one that goes nowhere. Ambiguity intended.
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.
Somewhere between the grain elevator and the distillery.
Looking at the ghost sign from a rust-locked cement conveyor that linked the silos with a packing warehouse.
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.
Standing between pockets 1 and 2. You brought hearing protection, right?
Laundry chute to the basement, as seen on the top floor.
The pockmarked concrete sign of Substation #2 over the control room that faces the highway.
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.
S&X seen in the background through the fog.
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.
A big door into the fire pump room.
The last time the city sealed this door, they must have been changing out old road signs.
Because painted signs would not hold up in this spot–in between four ovens that were literally hot enough to melt steel inside. Solution: Cut the pipe labels into the sheet metal. Seems to have worked.
When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.
I couldn’t help but include this ghost sign for a demolished motel…
A walk-up service window on the side of an administration building of some sort. I have a feeling the buildings were color coded.
Serve [unknown] Build… What do you think the middle says? Tell me in the comments.
This building seemed like a pump house or compressor house. It was full of empty concrete mounts.
The mine was built with stone, wood, and steel. It’s in good condition.
Although most of the buildings were open and empty, a few carried signs.
Part of the unremodeled hospital, above the Service Building, where employees would stay sometimes.
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.
A door covered in pen graffiti.
This machine was last overhauled in February 1955, and last turned out Crepe silk, probably dress material.
In the corner of most of the factory floors, freight elevators flanked restrooms to leave more central space for machines and their masters.
In the steam plant, steam pipes bundled in canvas and asbestos criss-cross the walls.
Spare parts ready for this building’s reactivation.
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.
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.
The corner of the original buildings still carry the Lemp logo!
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.
Candy jar molds, in the far corner of the paint shop.
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.
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
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.
Looking up at the LEMP malting plant elevator. Look at that BRICKWORK!
The headquarters for the plant was in the middle of it. It’s abandoned but well preserved–a strange sight in Gary, Indiana.
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.”
Below Dock 2 is a set of fire pumps.
The main gate, as seen in 2005. It hasn’t changed much since then.
Wintertime is quiet, except for the planes overhead.
An old name for an older elevator, as seen from an abandoned rail spur.
Isabella A (left) and B (right) were built in 1910 and 1913, respectively.
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.
A chalkboard halfway to the headhouse is untouched since the mill closed. It still has the cheat sheets!
The front of the Art Deco hospital, complete with Art Deco gears and Crosses of Loraine!
Looking up the tallest structure left at ACME.
2005. Flavored beers are still popular. The flavor concentrates were stored in this bank of fridges.
The back door into the old distillery building. Not castle-like at all, sadly.
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.
A siren near the main road. Is it an air raid siren?
A firedoor dating to the original car barn is roped off, anticipating demolition.
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
Safety signs decorated every floor, machine and, yes, door. This message spoke to me for reasons my coworkers will understand; suffice to say, I need to take this message to heart.
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’.
The stage of the theatre still holds hymnals and other vestiges of its time as a church.
The most derelict of the old bonded warehouses. Note the barrel elevator on the side of it!
Looking past the Osborn along the side of the Hughitt Slip, where there have always been grain elevators for more than 100 years.
Looking out of the brewhouse toward the river.
An Old Crow warehouse, formerly federally controlled, near Old Taylor Distillery.
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.
Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.
From a distance (here, Union Yards), you can still see ARMOUR spelled out on the smokestack in white brick.
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.
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.
I get dirty.
Construction in 2014 reveals a lost stone sign.
The turbine hall sported a beautiful Whiting gantry crane.
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.
It’s a straight view from the projection booth to the stage, but hell of a walk. At a fast pace, I think it would take 10 minutes to walk from this spot to the chair. Behind the curtains is a big white screen, so the theatre could be used for either stagework or moving pictures. The two projectors are set up for 3D movies right now–hence the little switch below the window–a Polaroid 3D synchronizer. Cool, huh?
Every fitting label in the stock department was cracked, curled, and blank.
A look at another “Belt-o-Vator”. I like the sign.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
The offices for the Five Roses elevator have long been boarded. To the left you can see the Manitoba Pool Elevator slogan, “Service at Cost”, meaning they would not make profit off farmers and dues.
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.
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.
The barracks are being reclaimed by nature.
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.
Looking from the powerhouse across to the old Electrical Assembly side of the plant that manufactured products like thermostats. Most of the complex is connected by skyway and tunnel systems.
The tunnels were full of bricked-up doorways. I wonder how many rooms under there are totally sealed from the outside world…
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.
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.
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!
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.
Note that the back of Stockhouse #4 is missing. A year later, Fermentation was on the ground too.
The laundry building, where many of the tunnels came to an end. It looks very East Coast industrial to me.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
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.
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.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
In case one forgot… mounted behind the appropriate valves. Who hasn’t memorized the appropriate valve positions?
The coal extractor swings back and forth, ripping coal from the ground and throwing it on a conveyor belt to be burned a few miles away.
The great stenciled number on this chute caught my eye.
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.
The cornerstone of the building, in Latin.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
The front of the mill reads “Montana Flour Mills Company”
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!
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.
When ‘men’ meant ‘worker’.
I found a historical photo of this room showing 10-foot high machines with wires hanging by the mile from looms and schematic charts.
A buck-fifty shot for a postcard stand. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.
Superior Street, as seen from the roof of the Temple Opera Block. Below is one of the sealed sidewalk elevator hatches.
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.
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)!
A sign hanging near the shop office.
One of the prettier Humphry Manlifts in Minneapolis, in my opinion.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
Point me to the blast furnace.
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
Note the tiled floor between the bucket conveyors and an old mill.
For some time, tugboats were stored next to the elevator.
Ladders crawl the back of the signs. Graffiti writers’ right of passage.
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 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.
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 bottom of the elevator in the new foundry.
A taste of Superior culture.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
From my archives–the NorShor as an innocent gentleman’s club, called ‘the NorShor Experience’.
Below the pressure gauges are rows of little pipe fitting drawers.
A caustic tank in one of the unremodeled brewhouse backrooms.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
An engine on display outside the Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge, MT. This was a typical electric locomotive used by The Milwaukee Road.
Dominion was acquired by UGG, which designated the elevator ‘M’. Their offices still have safety signage.
One level below where the cotton was nitrated, the fumes must have been powerful. This floor had several massive ventilation fans in its walls.
Much of the mill is wooden–even the larger chutes.
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.
Part of a vintage neon sign. I hope it’s been preserved–it reminds me of the sign that hung over my grandfather’s tv sales and repair shop in small town Minnesota.
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…
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.