All of the fire alarms had been triggered.
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 office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
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.
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.
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 generators, weeks before it was taken apart to be shipped to another power plant somewhere else.
An exit from the concourse.
The end of the new elevator. Line of bird droppings follow the fire sprinkler pipes and wires in the room.
One of Martinsdale’s defunct businesses perpendicular to the depot. Recall that Martinsdale is a T-town.
A warning sticker on the interior of a dredge once tied to the old dock.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
It remains unexplained what ‘serious results’ may stem from not reporting an accident, but when labor was cheap and unorganized I doubt anyone asked.
I get dirty.
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.
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.
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 clock, which was sold after Amtrak dumped the building, was returned to the Waiting Room in 2005.
A big sign marks where the elevated walkway is severed where Dock 2 used to meet Dock 3, now gone.
This machine was last overhauled in February 1955, and last turned out Crepe silk, probably dress material.
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.
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.
Here, the concentrated gold (and silver, and zinc, I would guess) would be loaded into trucks bound for the smelter.
The Sivertson’s sign seems like from a different time. I’ve never seen it lit, but I bet it’s beautiful.
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.
Dominion was acquired by UGG, which designated the elevator ‘M’. Their offices still have safety signage.
When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.
The sign that greets visitors to the ghost town of Colmor. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like birdshot.
The historical entrance.
At sunrise the fog rose near the solvent recovery line. You can barely read the “XXX” warning.
In case one forgot… mounted behind the appropriate valves. Who hasn’t memorized the appropriate valve positions?
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.
A long exposure under the trestle-like approach to the dock, under which trains still pass regularly.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
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.
Footprints of houses past; tailings of mines past.
I love that the administration building–almost 100 years old now–still carries the original name.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
Part of the unremodeled hospital, above the Service Building, where employees would stay sometimes.
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.
This building looked like some sort of office.
An Old Crow warehouse, formerly federally controlled, near Old Taylor Distillery.
Two bin signs criss-cross in the North Annex.
Note the tiled floor between the bucket conveyors and an old mill.
Looking at the top of the Washburn Crosby elevator from a mirrored window in the Guthrie Theater.
The side of the maintenance shops, still home to several disassembled electric carts.
This elevator was built in 1922 and was used until the passing rails were removed in the mid-1970s.
Below Dock 2 is a set of fire pumps.
Below the pressure gauges are rows of little pipe fitting drawers.
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 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.
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.
Elevator B, used by a local farmer, stands behind an old farm truck at the edge of town.
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 out upon Mill City through the lens of FLOUR, highlighted in pink and low clouds. This sign has recently been converted into LED lighting.
In the corner of most of the factory floors, freight elevators flanked restrooms to leave more central space for machines and their masters.
The barracks are being reclaimed by nature.
I love the texture of the rust through the decaying yellow paint.
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.
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.
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
A caustic tank in one of the unremodeled brewhouse backrooms.
A sign in the desolate cafeteria.
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.
A chalkboard halfway to the headhouse is untouched since the mill closed. It still has the cheat sheets!
Ektar 100/Mamiya 6. A ghost town near Martinsdale, where the market (pictured) served as the train stop.
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.
Van Dyke Cab Company and Yellow Cab served the terminal in lieu of a streetcar loop downtown, which was planned but never built.
Heavy wood doors for keeping people in.
Laundry chute to the basement, as seen on the top floor.
Point me to the blast furnace.
This sign was important when trains ran the length of the elevator.
The chalkboard in the filtering plant reminds new visitors of the last day.
In the nitrating house.
A different kind of tree fort.
Ladders crawl the back of the signs. Graffiti writers’ right of passage.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
Shadows of the trees from the materials yard.
Behind a nurse’s station.
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.
Note that the back of Stockhouse #4 is missing. A year later, Fermentation was on the ground too.
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 firedoor dating to the original car barn is roped off, anticipating demolition.
Devan setting up his 4×5 camera.
The historic entrance of the mill, alongside the (relatively) new Great Western offices.
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.
Behind the main shaft is this familiar industrial sight… a running count of days since the last injury.
A look at another “Belt-o-Vator”. I like the sign.
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.
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’.
For some time, tugboats were stored next to the elevator.
Some sort of materials handling building, judging by the construction.
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.
In the days before a centralized fire alarm system, coded whistle blasts would warn when and where a fire broke out.
Between the gauges for the power plant boilers and the steam pump flywheels.
An employee lunchroom with every door and window covered in vented steel.
Looking out of the brewhouse toward the river.
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.
One of the former sanitorium common rooms. Its interior is at the end of one of the wards and is lined with glass brick.
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.
In the women’s restroom.
A bumper sticker with the usual tagline. Note the detail on the radiator!
I like the fading stencil paint.
This volume gauge could be read from 30 feet away, which is useful when the control panels and valves are that far away.
A switchboard to control the flow of electricity into the plant from the city and generators.
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 original metal sign over the porticos.
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 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.
Every timber pillar was numbered for maintenance purposes.
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.
One level below where the cotton was nitrated, the fumes must have been powerful. This floor had several massive ventilation fans in its walls.
The stage of the theatre still holds hymnals and other vestiges of its time as a church.
Looking out at the town water tower (which I love) from the sugar mill (which I also love).
Fire doors and penis talk.
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
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.
The old No Trespassing sign, with the Peavey logo still on it.
After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.
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).
Fire doors separate the buildings.
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 fantastic red elevator that is Pool #61, built 1928.
To make sure the tourists aren’t scared off, the city painted the side of the elevator with one of its historic names.
The old movie theatre sign was sitting right inside the sealed front doors.
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?
Standing between pockets 1 and 2. You brought hearing protection, right?
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.
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.
A taste of Superior culture.
A siren near the main road. Is it an air raid siren?
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 walk-up service window on the side of an administration building of some sort. I have a feeling the buildings were color coded.
The turbine hall sported a beautiful Whiting gantry crane.
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.
I don’t think we’re anywhere near maximum pressure anymore.
The cornerstone of the building, in Latin.
The headquarters for the plant was in the middle of it. It’s abandoned but well preserved–a strange sight in Gary, Indiana.
The tunnels were full of bricked-up doorways. I wonder how many rooms under there are totally sealed from the outside world…
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.
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.
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.
One of the storage bunkers was cracked open. I wonder how effective this heavy door would actually be… I expect, not very.
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.
No ambiguity here… miners, check in at this office.
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 back of the neon sign before it was converted to LED lighting. The image is mirrored so it can be read.
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.
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.
Bricks from the demolished buildings.
Ruster at The Pool… employee graffiti about 100 above ground.
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
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.
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.
The main gate, as seen in 2005. It hasn’t changed much since then.
With the maintenance door open you can see the buckets on in the vertical conveyor.
The mine was built with stone, wood, and steel. It’s in good condition.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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 sign room with glass letters, words, and numbers.
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.
An original stencil-brushed sign.
This bridge over Eagle River is beautiful.
One of the occupied buildings in Nevadaville.
The batch tag specifies some of the technical properties of the silk worked here.
Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.
I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)
A sign on the corner of a laboratory remembers.
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.
A few of the stalls in the older section of the roundhouse, the noon sky peeking in.
An abandoned news stand between the concourse and ticket booths. This is one of my favorite pictures from the 2000s.
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 back door into the old distillery building. Not castle-like at all, sadly.
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
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 up the tallest structure left at ACME.
“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
Looking up at the LEMP malting plant elevator. Look at that BRICKWORK!
A big door into the fire pump room.
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.
Unit 4’s lower levels.
A sign hanging near the shop office.
The Calumet Elevator offices used to be flanked on both sides by rails. Now, only one side has engines running on it.
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.
The corner of the original buildings still carry the Lemp logo!
An abandoned gatehouse bearing the name of the former factory.
A buck-fifty shot for a postcard stand. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
S&X seen in the background through the fog.
The rear of engine bay 13… according to the heavily faded sign.
The guard shack protecting the Nike launch pad.
Hales & Hunter sign, as it looks today.
The house across from the Harris offices were decorated in a unique way.
Can you imagine workers in a food plant smoking on the job today?
Miners at the turn of the century had better taste in typography than the average person does today.