signs

View from the Booth

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?

From the Guthrie

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

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.

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.

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.

Armor Stacks

From a distance (here, Union Yards), you can still see ARMOUR spelled out on the smokestack in white brick.

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.

Whistle Blasts for Fires

In the days before a centralized fire alarm system, coded whistle blasts would warn when and where a fire broke out.

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.

Like a Ghost Town

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!

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.

Family Visitation Room

One of the former sanitorium common rooms. Its interior is at the end of one of the wards and is lined with glass brick.

Film: Argo Mill

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

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!

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.

Signals

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.

Franz-Engels-Straße

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.

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.

Film: Juice Levels

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.

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.

No Parking

Parking strictly forbidden. A sign in front of Cheratte’s former truck shops.

18 Pound Steam

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

Fort Liege Sign

A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.

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.

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.

Holmfield, MB- Harrison Milling

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.

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.

Bldg 253

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

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.

Not An Exit

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

Dept 5157

In the corner of most of the factory floors, freight elevators flanked restrooms to leave more central space for machines and their masters.

Corner Logo

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

No Smoking, Wooden Sign

Allouez had already suffered one major fire. It didn’t need another–especially under Dock 1’s wooden approach.

Block Glass Blues

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.

Building 402

Unloading boats had the option to take on fuel at Taconite Harbor. This building, among other things, pumped fuel to the dock.

Trains at General Mills “A”

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.

Covered Door

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

Substation Sign

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

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.

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.

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.

Side Door

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

A Century at Lyric

After a religious conversion from actors to projectors, a rebranding was in order.

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.

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.

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’.

Solvent Recovery Line

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

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.

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.

Pillsbury A’s Stone Fascade

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 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.

Bldg 100

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

Boarded Barracks II

Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.

Beauty Shop

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.

Beulah, MB

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

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.

TCRT East Shop II

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

Brach’s Headquarters

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

101-B

An original stencil-brushed sign.

Laundry

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

One Ear

Standing between pockets 1 and 2. You brought hearing protection, right?

Dead-End Bridge

A bridge crosses the main street of the village; one that goes nowhere. Ambiguity intended.

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.

Coke Batter B Control

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.

Auditorium

An old sign directed patients and visitors back to toward the central parts of the hospital.

Oil Cars

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.

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.

STOPlease

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

First North and Banks

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 Danger Line

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 Malting- Cupola

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

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.

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.

Bldg. B

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

Distillery Door

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

Wort Cooler Silhouette

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

Two Economies

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.

James R. Barker III

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bucket Lift

With the maintenance door open you can see the buckets on in the vertical conveyor.

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.

Gas Pump

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

Safety is Slow

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.

Dock 2 at Sunset

Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.

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.

Eagle Mine Sign

I assume this sign used to sit near the highway that snakes around the mine and town.

Lunchroom

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

Prize Mine Sign

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

Steam Downstream

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

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.

Hospital Portico

When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.

Calumet Elevator- Coal Room Door

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.

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.

Pipe Reference

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- Offices

Dominion was acquired by UGG, which designated the elevator ‘M’. Their offices still have safety signage.

Frontier Gas Station Sign

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.

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.”

Sign of Intruders

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

Live Girls 4 to 2

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

Dryhouse

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.

Fe(r)mentation

Note that the back of Stockhouse #4 is missing. A year later, Fermentation was on the ground too.

Water Tower

Looking out at the town water tower (which I love) from the sugar mill (which I also love).

Sunset on Osborn

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.

Dock 5L

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

Superior Street

Superior Street, as seen from the roof of the Temple Opera Block. Below is one of the sealed sidewalk elevator hatches.

Unsafe Dock Conditions

A big sign marks where the elevated walkway is severed where Dock 2 used to meet Dock 3, now gone.

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!

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.

GMF Ladder

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

Steering Instructions

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

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).

Stone Arch Lights

Pillsbury from across the Mississippi River and Stone Arch Bridge from the roof of the Washburn Crosby Elevator (aka Gold Medal Flour).

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.

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