I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.
Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.
An abandoned gatehouse bearing the name of the former factory.
An abandoned news stand between the concourse and ticket booths. This is one of my favorite pictures from the 2000s.
Looking at the top of the Washburn Crosby elevator from a mirrored window in the Guthrie Theater.
If you know what BTI stands for, please leave a comment.
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.
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 turbine hall sported a beautiful Whiting gantry crane.
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.
Around the corner from the old boiler room.
The back door into the old distillery building. Not castle-like at all, sadly.
Dominion was acquired by UGG, which designated the elevator ‘M’. Their offices still have safety signage.
The stage of the theatre still holds hymnals and other vestiges of its time as a church.
The Peavey logo, before it rusted off and the offices were demolished.
Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.
Below the pressure gauges are rows of little pipe fitting drawers.
The fantastic red elevator that is Pool #61, built 1928.
Ruster at The Pool… employee graffiti about 100 above ground.
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
Below Dock 2 is a set of fire pumps.
Part of the unremodeled hospital, above the Service Building, where employees would stay sometimes.
Can you imagine workers in a food plant smoking on the job today?
Superior Street, as seen from the roof of the Temple Opera Block. Below is one of the sealed sidewalk elevator hatches.
In case one forgot… mounted behind the appropriate valves. Who hasn’t memorized the appropriate valve positions?
Solvent pumping buildings, designed to explode upwards rather than outwards in an emergency, are forgotten near the milkweed.
My favorite time to be in the brewery was sunrise. That’s the kind of light that made the brewhouse glow.
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.
One of the prettier Humphry Manlifts in Minneapolis, in my opinion.
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.
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
An exit from the concourse.
A caustic tank in one of the unremodeled brewhouse backrooms.
Fire doors separate the buildings.
The cornerstone of the building, in Latin.
“This way,” then, “No, that way!”
A side door for the shop area with ivy crawling toward it.
Somewhere between the grain elevator and the distillery.
Note that the back of Stockhouse #4 is missing. A year later, Fermentation was on the ground too.
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.
A look at another “Belt-o-Vator”. I like the sign.
This building had no identity issues. My chief regret was not spending more time documenting the ghost signs around the complex.
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.
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.
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 sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
In the days before a centralized fire alarm system, coded whistle blasts would warn when and where a fire broke out.
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 Dock 5 sign at track level. Probably as an aid to sailors reboarding their vessels.
Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.
A self portrait from more than a decade ago.
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.
The great stenciled number on this chute caught my eye.
The Calumet Elevator offices used to be flanked on both sides by rails. Now, only one side has engines running on it.
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.
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 long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
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.
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.
Fire doors and penis talk.
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 storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
Looking up at the LEMP malting plant elevator. Look at that BRICKWORK!
The old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
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.
The side of the maintenance shops, still home to several disassembled electric carts.
Looking at the ghost sign from a rust-locked cement conveyor that linked the silos with a packing warehouse.
A big door into the fire pump room.
The barracks are being reclaimed by nature.
A sign on the corner of a laboratory remembers.
I assume this sign used to sit near the highway that snakes around the mine and town.
Looking out at the town water tower (which I love) from the sugar mill (which I also love).
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 batch tag specifies some of the technical properties of the silk worked here.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
Looking out of the brewhouse toward the river.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
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.
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.
One of the four fire alarm panels in the power station.
The tunnels were full of bricked-up doorways. I wonder how many rooms under there are totally sealed from the outside world…
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.
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.
Much of the mill is wooden–even the larger chutes.
“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.
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.
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.
Behind a nurse’s station.
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.
When ‘men’ meant ‘worker’.
This bridge over Eagle River is beautiful.
This building looked like some sort of office.
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?
In the women’s restroom.
When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.
Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.
Serve [unknown] Build… What do you think the middle says? Tell me in the comments.
“The fresh snow mixed indistinguishably from the ashes of the half-demolished power plant.”
Parking strictly forbidden. A sign in front of Cheratte’s former truck shops.
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’.
Hales & Hunter sign, as it looks today.
Construction in 2014 reveals a lost stone sign.
Looking out of the American diesel crane at the gantry crane that ran the length of the dock.
Every fitting label in the stock department was cracked, curled, and blank.
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.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
Devan setting up his 4×5 camera.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
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.
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.
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.
Spare parts ready for this building’s reactivation.
A view of the Harris offices, complete with great block glass.
The beacon was installed in 1938 and removed in the mid-2000s.
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.
Hand painted fire extinguisher notices and a long room which I strongly suspect was a pattern cutting room.
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.
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.
This sign was important when trains ran the length of the elevator.
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.
Unit 4’s lower levels.
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.
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.
2005. Flavored beers are still popular. The flavor concentrates were stored in this bank of fridges.
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.
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.
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.
A few of the stalls in the older section of the roundhouse, the noon sky peeking in.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
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 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.
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.
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.
Kurth bears a ghost sign. Recently, its main sign was destroyed by graffiti artists in 2015.
I found a historical photo of this room showing 10-foot high machines with wires hanging by the mile from looms and schematic charts.
An old sign directed patients and visitors back to toward the central parts of the hospital.
It remains unexplained what ‘serious results’ may stem from not reporting an accident, but when labor was cheap and unorganized I doubt anyone asked.
Every timber pillar was numbered for maintenance purposes.
ZC was sure proud of his castle!
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 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.
Before each warhead was crated, it was inspected.
Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.
A comrade lights-up where so many workers apparently congregated to do the same.
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.
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.
The most derelict of the old bonded warehouses. Note the barrel elevator on the side of it!
A sign hanging near the shop office.
Shadows of the trees from the materials yard.
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 Sivertson’s sign seems like from a different time. I’ve never seen it lit, but I bet it’s beautiful.
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.
A door covered in pen graffiti.
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.
The mine was built with stone, wood, and steel. It’s in good condition.
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.
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 guard shack protecting the Nike launch pad.
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
The back of the neon sign before it was converted to LED lighting. The image is mirrored so it can be read.
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!
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.
From my archives–the NorShor as an innocent gentleman’s club, called ‘the NorShor Experience’.
From a distance (here, Union Yards), you can still see ARMOUR spelled out on the smokestack in white brick.
No ambiguity here… miners, check in at this office.
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.
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.
Miners at the turn of the century had better taste in typography than the average person does today.
A siren near the main road. Is it an air raid siren?
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.
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.
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.
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.
An employee lunchroom with every door and window covered in vented steel.
I get dirty.
“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
The sign room with glass letters, words, and numbers.
In the corner of most of the factory floors, freight elevators flanked restrooms to leave more central space for machines and their masters.
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.
The house across from the Harris offices were decorated in a unique way.
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.
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 rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
The historical entrance.
The pockmarked concrete sign of Substation #2 over the control room that faces the highway.
Isabella A (left) and B (right) were built in 1910 and 1913, respectively.
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!
An original stencil-brushed sign.
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
This building seemed like a pump house or compressor house. It was full of empty concrete mounts.
A chalkboard halfway to the headhouse is untouched since the mill closed. It still has the cheat sheets!
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
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.
I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)
One of the generators, weeks before it was taken apart to be shipped to another power plant somewhere else.
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.