Fire doors and penis talk.
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
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.
A firedoor dating to the original car barn is roped off, anticipating demolition.
The old movie theatre sign was sitting right inside the sealed front doors.
A sign hanging near the shop office.
Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.
Solvent pumping buildings, designed to explode upwards rather than outwards in an emergency, are forgotten near the milkweed.
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.
I’ll remember the neon glow fondly.
Four A.M. was the best time to be on the main assembly line. This was about shortly after most of the machinery was removed.
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.
ZC was sure proud of his castle!
The tunnels were full of bricked-up doorways. I wonder how many rooms under there are totally sealed from the outside world…
This bridge over Eagle River is beautiful.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
Before each warhead was crated, it was inspected.
Every fitting label in the stock department was cracked, curled, and blank.
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.
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.
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.
Every timber pillar was numbered for maintenance purposes.
The main gate, as seen in 2005. It hasn’t changed much since then.
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.
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.
One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.
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!
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.
Looking up the tallest structure left at ACME.
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.
If you know what BTI stands for, please leave a comment.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
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 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.
At sunrise the fog rose near the solvent recovery line. You can barely read the “XXX” warning.
A side door for the shop area with ivy crawling toward it.
Behind a nurse’s station.
The neon lighthouse, seen from the top of one of the silos.
Laundry chute to the basement, as seen on the top floor.
Note that the back of Stockhouse #4 is missing. A year later, Fermentation was on the ground too.
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.
Point me to the blast furnace.
A few of the stalls in the older section of the roundhouse, the noon sky peeking in.
The batch tag specifies some of the technical properties of the silk worked here.
A look at another “Belt-o-Vator”. I like the sign.
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.
Looking out of the brewhouse toward the river.
I get dirty.
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.
Isabella A (left) and B (right) were built in 1910 and 1913, respectively.
A comrade lights-up where so many workers apparently congregated to do the same.
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…
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.
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.
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
S&X seen in the background through the fog.
A buck-fifty shot for a postcard stand. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
This machine was last overhauled in February 1955, and last turned out Crepe silk, probably dress material.
An old name for an older elevator, as seen from an abandoned rail spur.
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 clock, which was sold after Amtrak dumped the building, was returned to the Waiting Room in 2005.
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 laundry building, where many of the tunnels came to an end. It looks very East Coast industrial to me.
The stage of the theatre still holds hymnals and other vestiges of its time as a church.
The old gate sign, leaned against one of the terminal elevators.
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.
Elevator B, used by a local farmer, stands behind an old farm truck at the edge of town.
A bumper sticker with the usual tagline. Note the detail on the radiator!
The barracks are being reclaimed by nature.
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.
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 sign room with glass letters, words, and numbers.
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
An old sign directed patients and visitors back to toward the central parts of the hospital.
Serve [unknown] Build… What do you think the middle says? Tell me in the comments.
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.
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.
A broken window looking through the First Aid Room and into the Control Room in charge of directing grain into ships. You can see one of the large conveyors on the right, clad in green. Chutes and staircases intertwine seemingly randomly through the big empty spaces.
A bridge crosses the main street of the village; one that goes nowhere. Ambiguity intended.
An exit from the concourse.
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.
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 beacon was installed in 1938 and removed in the mid-2000s.
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.
An engine on display outside the Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge, MT. This was a typical electric locomotive used by The Milwaukee Road.
I assume this sign used to sit near the highway that snakes around the mine and town.
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.
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.
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.
The Peavey logo, before it rusted off and the offices were demolished.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
“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
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
The Sivertson’s sign seems like from a different time. I’ve never seen it lit, but I bet it’s beautiful.
All of the fire alarms had been triggered.
Looking up at the LEMP malting plant elevator. Look at that BRICKWORK!
This building looked like some sort of office.
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.
Some sort of materials handling building, judging by the construction.
Looking out at the town water tower (which I love) from the sugar mill (which I also love).
Kansas is known for tornados. Think ‘Wizard of Oz’. That, considered with the fact that the workers were surrounded by bombs and bomb making materials called for lots of earthen shelters, just in case.
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?
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
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 fantastic red elevator that is Pool #61, built 1928.
A misnomer that stuck.
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 long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
The most derelict of the old bonded warehouses. Note the barrel elevator on the side of it!
Can you imagine workers in a food plant smoking on the job today?
The Dock 5 sign at track level. Probably as an aid to sailors reboarding their vessels.
When ‘men’ meant ‘worker’.
Construction in 2014 reveals a lost stone sign.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
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.
The bottom of the elevator in the new foundry.
Inside the Beulah elevator were all of the original notices and notices. These are instructions for filling rail cars with flour sacks.
This volume gauge could be read from 30 feet away, which is useful when the control panels and valves are that far away.
The cornerstone of the building, in Latin.
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.
Here, the concentrated gold (and silver, and zinc, I would guess) would be loaded into trucks bound for the smelter.
The mine was built with stone, wood, and steel. It’s in good condition.
I don’t think we’re anywhere near maximum pressure anymore.
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 end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
For some time, tugboats were stored next to the elevator.
The great stenciled number on this chute caught my eye.
Standing between pockets 1 and 2. You brought hearing protection, right?
To make sure the tourists aren’t scared off, the city painted the side of the elevator with one of its historic names.
Bricks from the demolished buildings.
The last time the city sealed this door, they must have been changing out old road signs.
A siren near the main road. Is it an air raid siren?
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
Around the corner from the old boiler room.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
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.
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.
Footprints of houses past; tailings of mines past.
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.
In case one forgot… mounted behind the appropriate valves. Who hasn’t memorized the appropriate valve positions?
Note the tiled floor between the bucket conveyors and an old mill.
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.
In the days before a centralized fire alarm system, coded whistle blasts would warn when and where a fire broke out.
A splash of pink across an otherwise boring sign caught my eye in the old elevator.
An Old Crow warehouse, formerly federally controlled, near Old Taylor Distillery.
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).
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.
With the maintenance door open you can see the buckets on in the vertical conveyor.
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.
This elevator was built in 1922 and was used until the passing rails were removed in the mid-1970s.
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.
Unit 4’s lower levels.
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.
Below the pressure gauges are rows of little pipe fitting drawers.
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.
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
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.
Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.
Dominion was acquired by UGG, which designated the elevator ‘M’. Their offices still have safety signage.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
Shadows of the trees from the materials yard.
A taste of Superior culture.
The front of the mill reads “Montana Flour Mills Company”
The largest extant structure when I visited.
Spare parts ready for this building’s reactivation.
Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.
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.
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.
An abandoned news stand between the concourse and ticket booths. This is one of my favorite pictures from the 2000s.
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 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.
Looking past the Osborn along the side of the Hughitt Slip, where there have always been grain elevators for more than 100 years.
Silverton’s elevator, pictured here, is still active.
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
One of Martinsdale’s defunct businesses perpendicular to the depot. Recall that Martinsdale is a T-town.
Looking at the top of the Washburn Crosby elevator from a mirrored window in the Guthrie Theater.
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.
This building had no identity issues. My chief regret was not spending more time documenting the ghost signs around the complex.
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.
“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.
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.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
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 different kind of tree fort.
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.
The back door into the old distillery building. Not castle-like at all, sadly.
In the corner of most of the factory floors, freight elevators flanked restrooms to leave more central space for machines and their masters.
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.
The house across from the Harris offices were decorated in a unique way.
My favorite time to be in the brewery was sunrise. That’s the kind of light that made the brewhouse glow.
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.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
I like the fading stencil paint.
In the women’s restroom.
A chalkboard halfway to the headhouse is untouched since the mill closed. It still has the cheat sheets!
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…
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.