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.

Not An Exit

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

Under #203

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.

Row 189

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

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.

Abandoned News Stand

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

101-B

An original stencil-brushed sign.

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.

Max Pressure

I don’t think we’re anywhere near maximum pressure anymore.

Steering Instructions

In case one forgot… mounted behind the appropriate valves. Who hasn’t memorized the appropriate valve positions?

Distillery Door

The back door into the old distillery building. Not castle-like at all, sadly.

ADM-Delmar #4- Belt Spider

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.

Safety Pays

It remains unexplained what ‘serious results’ may stem from not reporting an accident, but when labor was cheap and unorganized I doubt anyone asked.

Snowed In Dryhouse

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.

TCRT East Shop II

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

Chateau Cross

Outside the Chateau, where the fuel oil tank blocks the chapel.

Steam Downstream

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

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.

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.

End of the Mill

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

Substation Sign

The pockmarked concrete sign of Substation #2 over the control room that faces the highway.

Bldg 100

Some sort of materials handling building, judging by the construction.

Flare-Ups

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)!

Servir

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

Film: Work on Top

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.

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.

From the Guthrie

Looking at the top of the Washburn Crosby elevator from a mirrored window in the Guthrie Theater.

Pipe Dept.

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

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).

Full Stop Skyway

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.

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.

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.

Original Glucose Line

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

18 Pound Steam

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

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.

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.

Bldg. B

I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)

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

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.

Covered Door

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

Consolidated D/General Mills A

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.

The Adler

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.

Enough to Hang By

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.

Beulah, MB

This elevator was built in 1922 and was used until the passing rails were removed in the mid-1970s.

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.

10 Operators 5 Casuals

“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.

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.

Laundry

The laundry building, where many of the tunnels came to an end. It looks very East Coast industrial to me.

Prize Mine Sign

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

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.

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.

ADM-Delmar #1- No Clearance

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.

Wort Cooler Silhouette

My favorite time to be in the brewery was sunrise. That’s the kind of light that made the brewhouse glow.

STOPlease

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

Corner Logo

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

Direct Drop Off

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.”

Four Sisters Generator

One of the generators, weeks before it was taken apart to be shipped to another power plant somewhere else.

Kurth Malting- Cupola

Kurth bears a ghost sign. Recently, its main sign was destroyed by graffiti artists in 2015.

Beulah, MB- Notices

Inside the Beulah elevator were all of the original notices and notices. These are instructions for filling rail cars with flour sacks.

Brewery Tower

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 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.

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.

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.

Rock Crusher

These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.

Brach’s Headquarters

The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.

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.

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.

Lunchroom

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

LEMP Elevator

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

Sign of Intruders

The last time the city sealed this door, they must have been changing out old road signs.

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.

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.

Levels

A 8-foot-tall volume indicator that could be read from across the beet boiler floor–convenient when the controls are 20 feet away.

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.

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…

Biker

A taste of Superior culture.

Yeast Stairs

A caustic tank in one of the unremodeled brewhouse backrooms.

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’.

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.

ADM Labs- LIVE

Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.

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.

GMF Ladder

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

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.

Devan

Devan setting up his 4×5 camera.

Gas Pump

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

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.

Live Girls 4 to 2

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

Branding

To make sure the tourists aren’t scared off, the city painted the side of the elevator with one of its historic names.

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.

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.

Solvent Recovery Line

Solvent pumping buildings, designed to explode upwards rather than outwards in an emergency, are forgotten near the milkweed.

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.

Convex Selfie

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.

MPE3- 3 Ship

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.

Flavor Fridges, 2005

2005. Flavored beers are still popular. The flavor concentrates were stored in this bank of fridges.

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.

Boarded Brew House

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.

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.

Fort William Elevator

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.

Old Ward

Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.

Side Door

A side door for the shop area with ivy crawling toward it.

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!

Bldg 253

This building seemed like a pump house or compressor house. It was full of empty concrete mounts.

Fort William Elevator Ghost Sign I

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.

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.

Tag 4-199, 1955

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

Argo Tunnel, 2015

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.

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.

Dock 5L

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

Island Station Living

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.

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.