The old movie theatre sign was sitting right inside the sealed front doors.
In the office at the end of the dock are two brooms. One is from the last ore train. One is from the last boat.
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.
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.
I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)
The batch tag specifies some of the technical properties of the silk worked here.
The Calumet Elevator offices used to be flanked on both sides by rails. Now, only one side has engines running on it.
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
I found a historical photo of this room showing 10-foot high machines with wires hanging by the mile from looms and schematic charts.
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 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.
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!
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.
Inside the Beulah elevator were all of the original notices and notices. These are instructions for filling rail cars with flour sacks.
A misnomer that stuck.
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.
In the nitrating house.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
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 love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
Around the corner from the old boiler room.
I love that the administration building–almost 100 years old now–still carries the original name.
Hand painted fire extinguisher notices and a long room which I strongly suspect was a pattern cutting room.
Candy jar molds, in the far corner of the paint shop.
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.
A self portrait from more than a decade ago.
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
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…
Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.
The cornerstone of the building, in Latin.
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.
A side door for the shop area with ivy crawling toward it.
Ladders crawl the back of the signs. Graffiti writers’ right of passage.
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!
Ektar 100/Mamiya 6. A ghost town near Martinsdale, where the market (pictured) served as the train stop.
In case one forgot… mounted behind the appropriate valves. Who hasn’t memorized the appropriate valve positions?
Behind a nurse’s station.
The laundry building, where many of the tunnels came to an end. It looks very East Coast industrial to me.
Allouez had already suffered one major fire. It didn’t need another–especially under Dock 1’s wooden approach.
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 comrade lights-up where so many workers apparently congregated to do the same.
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.
Below Dock 2 is a set of fire pumps.
A few of the stalls in the older section of the roundhouse, the noon sky peeking in.
This sign was important when trains ran the length of the elevator.
Looking out of the brewhouse toward the river.
One level below where the cotton was nitrated, the fumes must have been powerful. This floor had several massive ventilation fans in its walls.
Ruster at The Pool… employee graffiti about 100 above ground.
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
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
An abandoned news stand between the concourse and ticket booths. This is one of my favorite pictures from the 2000s.
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
This volume gauge could be read from 30 feet away, which is useful when the control panels and valves are that far away.
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.
A buck-fifty shot for a postcard stand. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
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.
With the maintenance door open you can see the buckets on in the vertical conveyor.
In the women’s restroom.
Looking out at the town water tower (which I love) from the sugar mill (which I also love).
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.
Behind the main shaft is this familiar industrial sight… a running count of days since the last injury.
The last time the city sealed this door, they must have been changing out old road signs.
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.
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
“This way,” then, “No, that way!”
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 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.
The mine was built with stone, wood, and steel. It’s in good condition.
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.
Somewhere between the grain elevator and the distillery.
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.
A look at another “Belt-o-Vator”. I like the sign.
Devan setting up his 4×5 camera.
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.
The barracks are being reclaimed by nature.
An old sign directed patients and visitors back to toward the central parts of the hospital.
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.
In the days before a centralized fire alarm system, coded whistle blasts would warn when and where a fire broke out.
Hales & Hunter sign, as it looks today.
Dominion was acquired by UGG, which designated the elevator ‘M’. Their offices still have safety signage.
A bridge crosses the main street of the village; one that goes nowhere. Ambiguity intended.
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.”
Bricks from the demolished buildings.
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.
This building seemed like a pump house or compressor house. It was full of empty concrete mounts.
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 Peavey logo, before it rusted off and the offices were demolished.
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.
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.
Pillsbury from across the Mississippi River and Stone Arch Bridge from the roof of the Washburn Crosby Elevator (aka Gold Medal Flour).
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
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.
The back door into the old distillery building. Not castle-like at all, sadly.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
Much of the mill is wooden–even the larger chutes.
I don’t think we’re anywhere near maximum pressure anymore.
“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.
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.
One of the generators, weeks before it was taken apart to be shipped to another power plant somewhere else.
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.
A big door into the fire pump room.
Part of the unremodeled hospital, above the Service Building, where employees would stay sometimes.
Some sort of materials handling building, judging by the construction.
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 sign room with glass letters, words, and numbers.
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.
Superior Street, as seen from the roof of the Temple Opera Block. Below is one of the sealed sidewalk elevator hatches.
Fire doors and penis talk.
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.
The main gate, as seen in 2005. It hasn’t changed much since then.
A bumper sticker with the usual tagline. Note the detail on the radiator!
Elevator B, used by a local farmer, stands behind an old farm truck at the edge of town.
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.
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.
One of the former sanitorium common rooms. Its interior is at the end of one of the wards and is lined with glass brick.
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.
In the corner of most of the factory floors, freight elevators flanked restrooms to leave more central space for machines and their masters.
The front of the mill reads “Montana Flour Mills Company”
Spare parts ready for this building’s reactivation.
The historical entrance.
Laundry chute to the basement, as seen on the top floor.
At sunrise the fog rose near the solvent recovery line. You can barely read the “XXX” warning.
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?
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
I’ll remember the neon glow fondly.
A view of the Harris offices, complete with great block glass.
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!
A switchboard to control the flow of electricity into the plant from the city and generators.
ZC was sure proud of his castle!
Model: Devan. Instagram: sextmachine
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
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.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
The front of the Art Deco hospital, complete with Art Deco gears and Crosses of Loraine!
I like the fading stencil paint.
A walk-up service window on the side of an administration building of some sort. I have a feeling the buildings were color coded.
An abandoned gatehouse bearing the name of the former factory.
The tunnels were full of bricked-up doorways. I wonder how many rooms under there are totally sealed from the outside world…
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.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
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.
When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.
This building looked like some sort of office.
Carter Color used to occupy this block.
The house across from the Harris offices were decorated in a unique way.
Looking up at the LEMP malting plant elevator. Look at that BRICKWORK!
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
Note the tiled floor between the bucket conveyors and an old mill.
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.
A taste of Superior culture.
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).
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
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…
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.
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.
A sign hanging near the shop office.
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.
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.
“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
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.
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.
Solvent pumping buildings, designed to explode upwards rather than outwards in an emergency, are forgotten near the milkweed.
For some time, tugboats were stored next to the elevator.
An engine on display outside the Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge, MT. This was a typical electric locomotive used by The Milwaukee Road.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
When ‘men’ meant ‘worker’.
One of the occupied buildings in Nevadaville.
The stage of the theatre still holds hymnals and other vestiges of its time as a church.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I couldn’t help but include this ghost sign for a demolished motel…
This bridge over Eagle River is beautiful.
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.
Global Trading remarked the building in the mid-60s, but far above the door is the old ‘Detroit Shipbuilding’ paint, though it’s faint nowadays.
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.
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.
Miners at the turn of the century had better taste in typography than the average person does today.
Before each warhead was crated, it was inspected.
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
For some time, Purina ran a feed service out of the elevator. Inside and outside were signs of its past presence.
No ambiguity here… miners, check in at this office.
The bottom of the elevator in the new foundry.
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.
It remains unexplained what ‘serious results’ may stem from not reporting an accident, but when labor was cheap and unorganized I doubt anyone asked.
Kurth bears a ghost sign. Recently, its main sign was destroyed by graffiti artists in 2015.
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.
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.
An employee lunchroom with every door and window covered in vented steel.
An exit from the concourse.
To make sure the tourists aren’t scared off, the city painted the side of the elevator with one of its historic names.
Parking strictly forbidden. A sign in front of Cheratte’s former truck shops.
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.
One of the four fire alarm panels in the power station.
Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.
Looking at the top of the Washburn Crosby elevator from a mirrored window in the Guthrie Theater.