The complex was so big that trains could make deliveries through the middle of it, passing below this striped skyway.
With its fresh paint, Lake Superior Elevator “I” almost looks contemporary, but it far outdates its neighbors, It replaced a wooden elevator by the same name in 1919.
This ruined skyway looks like it should be at ground level because of the growth, but it’s actually the second floor of the building.
Where the trees are sprouting–below the skyways and criss-crossing pipes–are two sets of railroad tracks that turned through this narrow alleyway through the middle of the production line to drop off raw materials and pick up finished product.
Looking up at the network of elevators at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Its train shed doors stand open under the void where conveyors should be. You can see where they used to connect on the left and right. The outside of the building is covered in racist graffiti.
2005. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
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.
Looking up from the train shed. The building was consistently crumbling and I wish I had worn a hard hat in this area.
Another. Planet. Coal crushers and the coke loading line.
The skyway in the bottom of the picture is now gone.
Looking up to the second floor of the Nitrating House, where cotton would be soaked in nitric acid. These brought cotton into the building.
The coke plant looked more natural through a grimy window.
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.
Energy conserving window plastic does no good when the doors are all open and the heat’s off.
One of my favorite photos of the ADM-Delmar #1 skyway, when it stood. Taken at sunset, with the reflection of the overcast sky in the remaining windows.
This is what the complex looks like today to the bare eye. Dull, monochrome, quiet.
Sunrise over Mill Hell, and all of Kurth’s various skyways. The elevators in the foreground date to the mid-1920s, Electric Steel is behind and is a little earlier than that.
The ‘working’ part of the furnaces are about a story above ground level, so the catwalks snake above the tree line.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
Looking out of Kurth Malt a the neighbors–the silos past Electric Steel are those of the Froedert Malt Company, now gone.
The exterior of the factory is unassuming
The powerplant and its dedicated water tower supplied steam for heating and mechanical work.
Far away, you can see the red lights on the steam plant smokestack. To the extreme right is the beginning of the Minneapolis skyline. Paint (where this was taken) and Assembly (where the blue light is) were connected with a long skyway that carried completed trucks to be painted. I assume the device in the foreground burned volatiles from the painting process.
Looking toward the museum from a broken window on the side of the concrete tower. The sign on top lights everything a dull pink-orange.
One of the last times I saw the skyway standing. ADM’s Meal Elevator is in the distance.
The sun lowered behind the dead flour mill, bending its image upon itself.
Looking out of a door to nowhere at the fiery sky above.
Looking across a skyway at the dust-collecting funnels, one of the few pieces of equipment that haven’t been completely decimated by time and the elements.
It’s a small world… look at it.
The conveyorway between the on-site grain elevator and mill.
Looking out of the brewhouse toward the river.
This skyway, built to help seal off two parts of the complex during an out of control fire, was probably too rotten to burn by the time I saw it.
One of the many fireproof bridges connecting the factory sections, one way to prevent fires from spreading throughout the plant.
Looking into the half-demolished, half-dismantled conveyor for the sea leg.
Note the severed skyway–that led to a set of grain elevators that have since been demolished.
A self portrait from more than a decade ago.
This was taken before the top of the docks really started to rot-out; now this stretch past the crane is distinctly unsafe to cross. Still, you can’t beat the view of Dock #2 winding into the distance, where the approach is chopped-off before the yard used to extend.
A long exposure panorama of Electric Steel and Kurth from the roof of Russell Miller B, days before it was demolished.
This building stood on stilts until it was demolished. The top floor handled radio traffic to boats and trains. The bottom floor had locker rooms, records, and a lunchroom.
Standing on a caustic tank with my head out a roof hatch, I look at the sign of the last brand to be produced here.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4 looks rough these days. You can tell how high the children of Thunder Bay can throw a rock.
Squinting from the top floor through the skyway, one can feel small, like they’re in a heavy industrial dollhouse.
It seems like this pipe was made to return dust to the collector in the main workhouse from the annex.
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
The only good shot I have of the top of Battery A, in the upper left. Though it seemed to have been disused before its neighbor it had a lot less growth on it.
The concrete annex elevator had interesting graffiti. Much of it from the 1980s and 1990s.
Looking across the ruined skyway that connects the two elevators. I wanted to walk across it, but my exploring parter held me back.
This wide skyway connected two of the inner factory buildings, where parts would have to be transported to keep the operation moving, which is why it is much wider than other bridges in the plant.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
2010. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
Electric Steel’s bins reflect the sunset.
The skyway’s steel substructure collapsed slightly, crushing part of the dust collectors.
The annex casts a long shadow over its old headhouse and the former UGG (currently Vitera C) elevator. Arista 100.
Looking out of the demolished skyway. Note the big hole in the floor. The lens is too wide to keep my foot out of it… I’m hanging in the superstructure that I climbed to make this photo.
Halfway up the coal conveyor, covered in coal dust… black streaks of snot. Starting to get good.
Mill Hell before the University of Minnesota began developing the area. Now many of the buildings are gone, there are new roads and even bike paths.
I had to climb into the roof of the half-demolished skyway to see through to the other side of the train shed. That’s my foot in the corner.
Looking into the main workhouse from the skyway into the annex elevator. But who care? Look at the colors!
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 left building is active, the right building is not, though both were built as Wilson Bros buildings. The skyway was rough, inside and out, but I liked the small gate in the bottom of it–it reminded me of a castle. Skyways like these were a fireproofing measure.
Taken at a junction in the tube world.
The side of King that faces the lake is stained yellow-green.
This picture tells half the story about the size of half of the complex. For Port Arthur, it’s average, but this would be a fantastically large elevator if it were anywhere else!
A wide view (15mm) of the shadow 4B is casting on 4A. Light leaks because of cheap camera.
This was one of two skyways that went between production line offices. It’s easy to tell because it’s not reinforced for machinery to travel through it. I also like that it’s a double-decker, so to speak.
The conveyorway that carried the sintering material to the mixing floor at the top of the plant.
In the upper left of the image you can see where the gas tanks used to be, along with the concentration equipment. Along the bottom you can also see some of the many railroad tracks coming and going from the plant–the ones visible here were incoming tracks that carried in hard coal from the eastern US.
A number of skyways carried the production line across roads and railroad tracks in and around the plant. An identical skyway to this one was cut off sometime in the past decade (judging by the rust), probably for its steel.
I like this picture because it shows some of the only unbroken windows at Packard.
From the bottom of the skyway I looked back, my eyes tracing the vines from the marsh up the smokestacks to the perfect Midwestern sky.