signs

Corner Logo

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

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.

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.

Radio Stereo

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.

GMF Ladder

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

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’.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Elevator Shaft

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

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.

Auditorium

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

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.

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.

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.

Van Dyke Cabs Only

Van Dyke Cab Company and Yellow Cab served the terminal in lieu of a streetcar loop downtown, which was planned but never built.

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.

No Smoking, Wooden Sign

Allouez had already suffered one major fire. It didn’t need another–especially under Dock 1’s wooden approach.

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.

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.

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.

Time Lost

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

A Century at Lyric

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

Water Tower

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

Cloverleaf Smelter Boilers

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.

Bldg 106

This building looked like some sort of office.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Steam Gauges

A little catwalk gives access to the most important gauges in the building. Behind them are huge vents and fans. I bet it got steamy in here.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Not An Exit

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

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.

Biker

A taste of Superior culture.

Yeast Stairs

A caustic tank in one of the unremodeled brewhouse backrooms.

18 Pound Steam

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

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…

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.

Lunchroom

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

Siverston’s Sign

The Sivertson’s sign seems like from a different time. I’ve never seen it lit, but I bet it’s beautiful.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…

Row 189

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

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.

Franz-Engels-Straße

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.

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.

Gas Pump

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

Fe(r)mentation

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

End of the Mill

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

Live Girls 4 to 2

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

Covered Door

I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.

STOPlease

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

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.

Superior Street

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

Servir

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

Hospital Portico

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

Gauges

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

Skyway: Section 4

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.

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.

Tag 4-199, 1955

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

Pipe Reference

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.

Tillston, MB- Pool Elevator

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.

Film: Argo Mill

A tore-up Colorado Southern Railway sign and the majestic (in an industrial sense) Argo Mill. Go. On. The. Tour. Leica/Summilux 35/Ektar 100

Abandoned News Stand

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

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.

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

Bucket Lift

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

One Ear

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

Dead-End Bridge

A bridge crosses the main street of the village; one that goes nowhere. Ambiguity intended.

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.

Prize Mine Sign

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

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.

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.

No Parking

Parking strictly forbidden. A sign in front of Cheratte’s former truck shops.

Old Sign

This sign was important when trains ran the length 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.

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.

Boarded Barracks II

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

Eagle Mine Sign

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

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.

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.

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.

Devan

Devan setting up his 4×5 camera.

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.

I Z E

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

Dock 5L

One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.

Smoking in a Powder Plant

In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.

TCRT East Shop II

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

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.

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.

View from the Booth

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?

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.

Pipe Dept.

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

Armor Stacks

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

God Loves Lime

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.

LEMP Elevator

Looking up at the LEMP malting plant elevator. Look at that BRICKWORK!

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.

Steam Downstream

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

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.

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.

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).

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.

Whoa! Over 200 pictures (323!) for this tag! Refresh the page for another random sampling.