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?
A view of the Harris offices, complete with great block glass.
A self portrait from more than a decade ago.
Looking at the top of the Washburn Crosby elevator from a mirrored window in the Guthrie Theater.
Somewhere between the grain elevator and the distillery.
Model: Devan. Instagram: sextmachine
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.
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.
S&X seen in the background through the fog.
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.
From a distance (here, Union Yards), you can still see ARMOUR spelled out on the smokestack in white brick.
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.
In the days before a centralized fire alarm system, coded whistle blasts would warn when and where a fire broke out.
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 old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
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!
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.
The original metal sign over the porticos.
One of the former sanitorium common rooms. Its interior is at the end of one of the wards and is lined with glass brick.
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
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!
The back of the neon sign before it was converted to LED lighting. The image is mirrored so it can be read.
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 love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
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.
At sunrise the fog rose near the solvent recovery line. You can barely read the “XXX” warning.
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.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
The historical entrance.
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.
A big door into the fire pump room.
Fake Fact: The term ‘stovetop hat’ was coined by Island Station’s architect while trying to explain why he wanted to put the steel chimney on the station. ‘Live Here’ was part of the advertising when the building was host to artist lofts. They weren’t kidding.
Silverton’s elevator, pictured here, is still active.
Parking strictly forbidden. A sign in front of Cheratte’s former truck shops.
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
One of the four fire alarm panels in the power station.
Bricks from the demolished buildings.
It remains unexplained what ‘serious results’ may stem from not reporting an accident, but when labor was cheap and unorganized I doubt anyone asked.
The fantastic red elevator that is Pool #61, built 1928.
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.
Fire doors separate the buildings.
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.
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.
This building seemed like a pump house or compressor house. It was full of empty concrete mounts.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
I’ll remember the neon glow fondly.
When ‘men’ meant ‘worker’.
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.
A siren near the main road. Is it an air raid siren?
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
In the corner of most of the factory floors, freight elevators flanked restrooms to leave more central space for machines and their masters.
The corner of the original buildings still carry the Lemp logo!
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
Allouez had already suffered one major fire. It didn’t need another–especially under Dock 1’s wooden approach.
Watching the comings and goings of doctors, nurses and new patients was a mainstay of asylum routine; one can find it easy to imagine pale faces pressed against the block glass windows, staring out at the world moving past them.
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
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.
I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.
The pockmarked concrete sign of Substation #2 over the control room that faces the highway.
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.
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.
Looking out of the brewhouse toward the river.
The sign room with glass letters, words, and numbers.
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 side door for the shop area with ivy crawling toward it.
The barracks are being reclaimed by nature.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
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.
No ambiguity here… miners, check in at this office.
A 8-foot-tall volume indicator that could be read from across the beet boiler floor–convenient when the controls are 20 feet away.
A bumper sticker with the usual tagline. Note the detail on the radiator!
The great stenciled number on this chute caught my eye.
I love that the administration building–almost 100 years old now–still carries the original name.
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’.
Solvent pumping buildings, designed to explode upwards rather than outwards in an emergency, are forgotten near the milkweed.
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.
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.
The bottom of the elevator in the new foundry.
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.
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.
Some sort of materials handling building, judging by the construction.
Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.
The side of the maintenance shops, still home to several disassembled electric carts.
The house across from the Harris offices were decorated in a unique way.
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.
Carter Color used to occupy this block.
This elevator was built in 1922 and was used until the passing rails were removed in the mid-1970s.
Can you imagine workers in a food plant smoking on the job today?
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
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.
For some time, tugboats were stored next to the elevator.
A different kind of tree fort.
A firedoor dating to the original car barn is roped off, anticipating demolition.
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
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.
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.
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
Fire doors and penis talk.
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.
Isabella A (left) and B (right) were built in 1910 and 1913, respectively.
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.
A door covered in pen graffiti.
Power-up to cool down… would have been nice on the hot day I climbed on top of this machine.
An original stencil-brushed sign.
The laundry building, where many of the tunnels came to an end. It looks very East Coast industrial to me.
Standing between pockets 1 and 2. You brought hearing protection, right?
A bridge crosses the main street of the village; one that goes nowhere. Ambiguity intended.
Looking up the tallest structure left at ACME.
The old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
A chalkboard halfway to the headhouse is untouched since the mill closed. It still has the cheat sheets!
“This way,” then, “No, that way!”
A sign on the corner of a laboratory remembers.
Looking out of the American diesel crane at the gantry crane that ran the length of the dock.
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.
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.
An old sign directed patients and visitors back to toward the central parts of the hospital.
The most derelict of the old bonded warehouses. Note the barrel elevator on the side of it!
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.
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 buck-fifty shot for a postcard stand. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
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.
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.
Kurth bears a ghost sign. Recently, its main sign was destroyed by graffiti artists in 2015.
An old name for an older elevator, as seen from an abandoned rail spur.
Ruster at The Pool… employee graffiti about 100 above ground.
An abandoned gatehouse bearing the name of the former factory.
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.
“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.
I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)
Unit 4’s lower levels.
The back door into the old distillery building. Not castle-like at all, sadly.
My favorite time to be in the brewery was sunrise. That’s the kind of light that made the brewhouse glow.
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.
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
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.
The clock, which was sold after Amtrak dumped the building, was returned to the Waiting Room in 2005.
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.
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 found a historical photo of this room showing 10-foot high machines with wires hanging by the mile from looms and schematic charts.
Much of the mill is wooden–even the larger chutes.
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.
ZC was sure proud of his castle!
With the maintenance door open you can see the buckets on in the vertical conveyor.
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.
The historic entrance of the mill, alongside the (relatively) new Great Western offices.
All of the fire alarms had been triggered.
The Peavey logo, before it rusted off and the offices were demolished.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
The front of the mill reads “Montana Flour Mills Company”
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
A switchboard to control the flow of electricity into the plant from the city and generators.
The old movie theatre sign was sitting right inside the sealed front doors.
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.
Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
Laundry chute to the basement, as seen on the top floor.
The Calumet Elevator offices used to be flanked on both sides by rails. Now, only one side has engines running on it.
I assume this sign used to sit near the highway that snakes around the mine and town.
Point me to the blast furnace.
An employee lunchroom with every door and window covered in vented steel.
The mine was built with stone, wood, and steel. It’s in good condition.
In the steam plant, steam pipes bundled in canvas and asbestos criss-cross the walls.
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.
A comrade lights-up where so many workers apparently congregated to do the same.
When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.
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.
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.
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.
Dominion was acquired by UGG, which designated the elevator ‘M’. Their offices still have safety signage.
One of the prettier Humphry Manlifts in Minneapolis, in my opinion.
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.
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.”
The last time the city sealed this door, they must have been changing out old road signs.
From my archives–the NorShor as an innocent gentleman’s club, called ‘the NorShor Experience’.
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.
Hales & Hunter sign, as it looks today.
Hand painted fire extinguisher notices and a long room which I strongly suspect was a pattern cutting room.
One of Martinsdale’s defunct businesses perpendicular to the depot. Recall that Martinsdale is a T-town.
Note that the back of Stockhouse #4 is missing. A year later, Fermentation was on the ground too.
Looking out at the town water tower (which I love) from the sugar mill (which I also love).
A few of the stalls in the older section of the roundhouse, the noon sky peeking in.
An exit from the concourse.
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.
Around the corner from the old boiler room.
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.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
I get dirty.
Superior Street, as seen from the roof of the Temple Opera Block. Below is one of the sealed sidewalk elevator hatches.
A big sign marks where the elevated walkway is severed where Dock 2 used to meet Dock 3, now gone.
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!
A walk-up service window on the side of an administration building of some sort. I have a feeling the buildings were color coded.
Ladders crawl the back of the signs. Graffiti writers’ right of passage.
In case one forgot… mounted behind the appropriate valves. Who hasn’t memorized the appropriate valve positions?
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).
Looking past the Osborn along the side of the Hughitt Slip, where there have always been grain elevators for more than 100 years.
Pillsbury from across the Mississippi River and Stone Arch Bridge from the roof of the Washburn Crosby Elevator (aka Gold Medal Flour).
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.