Little has changed inside the mill, but since it was built in 1916, many tanks and ancillary buildings have popped up around it.
From a distance (here, Union Yards), you can still see ARMOUR spelled out on the smokestack in white brick.
Looking from a high window in the abandoned Ogilvie’s elevator across “The Kam”, the true size of the Starch Works is surprising.
“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.”
― Emily Dickinson
Scanned after being recovered from the bottom of an old wooden box for a few years. Circa 2005. The only photo I have showing the steam locomotive out front.
Looking at the rear of the mill, through dead vines and barbed wire.
The bottom area of the smokestacks house storage spaces. The windows of these rooms that were never completed line up perfect.
Looking toward the power station at the edge of the explosives plant.
Showering red-hot coke fresh from the furnaces near the Coal Tower (in the back) was the Quenching Tower’s duty (front).
The old mill (right) and power plant (left) with the new mill behind them.
Stairs and power lines enter the abandoned depot. Shingles slide off the rotten roof. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
The taller of the two smokestacks on site. Note the crack around its crown.
A sizable crane on the corner of the engine house still swings out.
Now, to add a human scale.
Looking out of a door to nowhere at the fiery sky above.
The average sugar mill in 1915 consumed about 11,000 acres of sugar beets
Peering at Stelco’s abandoned steel rod rolling mill, not demolished. The rectangular on the right in between is the boiler house that heated Stelco.
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.
A midwestern jungle surrounds the meat packing plant.
A quick vertical panorama taken on my back at the sweet spot of a great summer sunset. On the skylight is the torch-cut catwalk that used to link the outside of the smokestacks that vented the cupolas.
Kate in the crow’s next… very shaky by the time she got to it.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
Another perfect Indianan sunset alights like a bird on the tops of the vent houses and tree-packed smokestacks.
The side of Stelco and its scrubber-stacks. This is demolished now.
Quincy Smelter, 2014.
A look at the Longmont Sugar Mill in May 2014.
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.
Indianapolis’ beautiful downtown is in the distance, past the gas storage tank.
One of the older buildings on the site, this is an old power house that provided electricity to the plant. I spent some time walking around it and believe it was fired with coal gas but had a diesel backup installed later.
The copula stacks were fitted with scrubbers. Making metal is a very polluting activity.
A quick shot to show the mineshaft in context with the smelter. Did I mention the smelter’s stack is unreasonably gigantic?
This is how the warehouse looks today.
I wish I knew the story of this popcorn-themed boxcar.
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.
The smokestack for the sintering plant included a big blower room, to launch the fumes into the atmosphere and away from the town. What could go wrong?
I like to think of this as a giant straw, through which the factory is slowly draining the earth, leaving nothing but reinforced concrete below…
Looking at The Windy City from the top of the coal tower. The pond you see is the former ACME Coke coal yard.
Early bird gets the blast furnace. You gotta love that ore yard gantry crane.
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
The room on the right with the higher doors is the coal receiving room; this used to have a trestle that elevated coal trains over it, so they could dump into basement silos.
The parking lot is in better condition than most of the complex. The left building is the lab.
Wagons and horses were kept in the building on the left, separate from the rest of the complex in case of fire. In the distance is the boiler house, separate for the same reason.
Looking toward downtown, one is reminded that when Stahlmann built here in 1855 that it was on the very edge of the city.
Heavy industrial looks good in cotton candy pink.
This gives you a sense for what it looks like to stand on the roof of the main production building at sunset.
“Crunch, crunch, crunch,” said the ground. “I know,” I replied.
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.
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.
This low brick building is interesting to me.
Steam pipes squirm around the stacks.
Don’t know what’s heavier… the bricks or shadows.
The coal water power plant stack accompanied the smell of an arson.
Fly ash, kicked up by downdrafts, rise again up the smokestack that is the signature feature of the plant. It’s a steel top hat.
Halfway up the coal conveyor, covered in coal dust… black streaks of snot. Starting to get good.
I was squatting overnight in one of the buildings and woke up with the sunrise. This is what I woke up to.
A little cloud passes over the Five-Stack powerplant ruins, like a puff of smoke.
It’s not a good sign when you can see the chimney through the roof.
No matter what environmental disasters industry throws at Mother Earth, she will bounce back.
Brick crowns of the twin stacks are not aging well.
One night, I camped behind the sugar mill. You can tell be the clouds that a cold front was moving out—it was a hot day.
About a second after the explosives were triggered.
Blast Furnace 7 as seen from the ore yard. Imagine running up those stairs through blast furnace smoke.
The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
A morning shower made the plant’s metal siding shake… probably nothing, though, compared to when the furnaces were blasting. The objects on the ground are molten ore containers.
Looking across the spired rooftop of the Kirkbride building. In the foreground is a fire chute that contains a metal spiral slide designed to evacuate patients in case of a fire. Note the ironwork on the chimney.
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
Between blizzards on the hill, I look out over the Chateau. Kodak Portra 400 on Voightlander Bessa.
Portland Huron and downtown Duluth from the end of the Elevator A slip.
The steam plant at Nopeming is an iconic (and crooked) smokestack. Kodak Pro 400 on a Fuji GX680.
A long exposure of the city glow illuminating the roof, highlighting the victorian and gothic influences on the brew house.
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.
Approaching the power station and its giant stack. The stack replaced four shorter stacks in the 1960s, helping with pollution in the downtown corridor.
Looking out across the elevator row from Portland Huron’s roof. Don’t you love the color of the sky?
The wood-braced structures descending the hill connected the La Crosse Tunnel to the mill in Central City. To see a picture of an aerial tram in action, see at my Treasure Mountain article.
I didn’t test the rungs, but I bet the view was incredible.
A long exposure of the side of the coke ovens, lit by the nearby streetlights.
A collapsing and unstable building.
Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.
Not a wisp of smoke can be seen today.
Death. About two seconds after the explosives were triggered.
On deck, looking at the door to the engine room.
The fresh snow makes the whole complex look a lot cleaner than it actually is.
Scanned after being recovered from the bottom of an old wooden box for a few years. Circa 2005.
The coke plant looked more natural through a grimy window.
Looking toward the old power house, right below one of its arteries.
Zug Island is a US Steel plant just south of Detroit, and it really lights up the skyline.
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
A row of security lights line the roof of the power station.
Power House, 2000s
From the roof of the larger power plant’s Building A, Hastings, MN’s lights burn behind the smokestacks.
Looking at Carrie from the place where the molten steel would be cast
The powerplant was roughly in the middle of the rail works.
The middle section of the smokestacks were coal hoppers, and this device would load the coal into the hoppers from the conveyor belt it rode across. The bottom section of the stacks were storage rooms while the very top were, surprise, chimneys for the power plant.
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.