staircases

Old Orphanage

It would be a shame if this building is not preserved. Word is (as of 2015) that construction may start on this section soon.

Torched Feeds

Cauterized wounds on the factory floor, where the middle of the newer mill opens up to allow massive equipment. Now the pipes are cut and the equipment is gone.

Tire Dump

Many outdoor areas of the plant have become unofficial city dumps. The skeleton doesn’t care.

Diesel Lab II

Offices above the labs. Note all the air handling equipment. I love the utilitarian design.

Door 8

The curving corridors flanking the Administration Tower are especially ornate, though the prison-like door betrays the real purpose of the building.

Diversion in the Shaft House

A hydraulic ‘bridge’ couple lower onto the tracks to bring mine cars into the shaft house, presumably for repair. I haven’t found this system anywhere else, but it makes a lot of sense.

Dispatch and Locker Rooms

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.

Brewhouse Levels

A late look at the brewhouse, long after the stainless steel tanks were scrapped.

Love You

The classic Solvay shot. Everyone has it.

Mill Controls

Though it’s a little unclear what control station controlled what function, these levers seemed to relate to some of the bigger equipment inside the dredge, such as the trommel.

Sewing Room Stairs

These stairs connected some small main-level offices with one of the main sewing rooms above. Because the roof on this building was strong, it was pretty well preserved–look at those colors. Through the open fire door on the left, though, you can see that the roof has given out.

Balcony

The head distiller could walk out of their office to this balcony and overlook the whole fermentation process in a glance.

Dented and Dilated – (C)SUBSTREET

The end of Dock 5 is warped and bent from a rail accident that left some ore cars swinging like a stringy wrecking ball into the end of the superstructure and accompanying stair. The stairs are still navigable, but it wasn’t recommended by the CN workers that were with me.

Door II

A rare door left on the workhouse. The stairs to the left led down into a flooded basement. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.

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!

Crank on Dock 4

Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.

Peeling Stair II

The seminal architectural feature of the old hospital–the parts built by Illinois Central Railroad–was this staircase. Wide and graceful, adorned with paint chips and fire extinguishers, and leading from offices to surgical suites to the cafeteria.

The Last Hamm Chair

The Hamm-stenciled chairs are all destroyed as far as I know, now, as are the custom ladders built in-house for the company. Taken between the Filter House and Keg Wash House.

Eighth Floor Warning

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.

Elevator Shaft

The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.

Slagway

Between the catwalks of Furnace 6, the molted ore would flow through the chute.

Floatation Stairs

A side view of the floatation level. I found it interesting that there were little ladders and staircases in the mill to help workers get around–this place was not as shoddy as other mills I’ve seen.

Chutes

A staircase leads behind three of the dock chutes, seemingly to nowhere. The lower on the left held one end of a string of lights above the dock.

Oven Battery

Blast Furnace 7 as seen from the ore yard. Imagine running up those stairs through blast furnace smoke.

Flywheel

A generator in the power room… steam powered.

Boarded Barracks II

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

Manlift, Top Floor

A reminder to the manlift riders to get off the belt before they hit their heads on the ceiling. This is the top level of the headhouse, where dust collectors would extract most of the grain bits from the air to reduce risk of explosion.

White Shadows

Looking up from the ground floor at the various levels of the sugar mill.

Last Chapel Pew

On the boarded-up first floor of the house proper near the door to the chapel, the last pew sites next to a wet box of Bibles.

Staircase Lion

Iron lions in the doctor’s apartment guard the way to the dining room.

Studebaker Headquarters

The company headquarters. Abandoned last time I drove past it, though it is the classiest building in downtown South Bend.

Production

On this production line, the office was elevated far above the floor.

Collapsing Poor Farm

A wide view of the poor house. Look at the smokestack and elevator shaft, which show the former roofline.

Saggy Corridor

Looking toward the Female Infirmary Ward from the long, glass, Conservatory hallway.

Corrugated Awning

The steel awning and its elegant staircase are one of my favorite features near the old carpentry shop. The gymnasium-theater is in the background.

Firestone Stairs

Inside the towering offices, Firestone-colored staircases connect senseless rows of wood-paneled offices.

Old Kettles

In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.

Drop-Dead Hoist-House

Hanging over the crane cab, looking over at the trane-sized doors below. The steel beam tracing the left wall is the support for the gantry crane this photo was taken from.

Today’s Weather- Stormy

Before the clouds broke, I snapped this profile of the dumping control room and its spiral staircase. These are the colors that I dream in.

Spiral Staircase

This picture is perhaps the most appropriate in its visual depiction of how unstable the mill was. 1. Note the lack of stairs on the spiral staircase; they’re rusted and twisted apart, not simply cut off. 2. Notice the cracked concrete on the lower left corner; that was cracking as I was standing on it taking this photo, and don’t think there’s anything under that to begin to stop one’s fall. 3. You’re looking into an open elevator shaft; its safety cage is sliced away and wide open.

Basement

The basements of the barracks were often stone and brick, and many of them were connected by short tunnels.

Ringling Depot – Door

Stairs and power lines enter the abandoned depot. Shingles slide off the rotten roof. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6

Bottom of the Spiral

Connecting the Administration building’s tower and top floors is this beautiful cast iron staircase. It was probably designed to help service the clock originally planned to be set in the tower, but when the hospital went over budget the state cancelled the timepiece. Now we are left with a gorgeous stair with little or no real purpose–not that I’m complaining. I am a long-admitted spiral staircase fetishist.

King- Tower Stairs

The King Elevator is connected by a manlift and this spiral staircase. The manlift was down–can you believe it? Note the cool turns in the vertical railings. Arista 100 on 120.

Ford Motors Mine Elevators

This is an elevator to move mine car loads of sand to the surface for cleaning and eventually glass production. Below is a flooded equipment vault. In front and behind is a loop through the larger tunnels in the mine. The horizontal braces supported electric cables for the mine carts.

Fragile Death Trap

To the right is the spiral staircase. This building had a definite “floor problem”.

Aft

On deck, looking at the door to the engine room.

Hung Coats

The entrance to the cafeteria when I first saw it (around 2004) still had coats on the hanger. Now the walls aren’t even white anymore because water has removed all the latex paint.

Cargil B2 and Coal Dock Ruins

If you look carefully along the side of the slip alongside this image of Cargill B-2, you will see the remains of the crane stops when this was a Hannah coal dock.

Roof Door

When I moved from the roof back into the upper floors of the distillery, the plants growing out of the masonry caught my eye. It’s 60 feet up, but looks like it could be an old wall.

Killer Wheel

This mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.

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.

Yeorg’s Six-Way Intersection Panorama

Left: A medium storage chamber with access to an interconnecting steam tunnel at ceiling height. This room also has various smashed toilets. Why? Because dead toilets–all of them–always find a home in a cave. Center: Steps go past a +-intersection, left goes deeper, right goes to utility tunnels for the brewery, forward used to go to the brewery basement… it’s now backfilled. Left from the backfill is a small hallway; see ‘Backfill Self Portrait’. Center-Right: Utility tunnels tie knots between the brewery’s demolished basement and its caves. Right: Most of the storage volume is in large chambers down this causeway.

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.

Carrie Tower

Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.

Aimless Spiral

This spiral staircase isn’t doing Lemp much good–maybe they’ll let me have it! I do love, though, that there is a door going to it–without walls–and it ascends to a second floor that doesn’t exactly exist anymore.

Top of the Spiral

The very top of the Administration Tower’s spiral staircase. There’s an old antenna of some kind there, as you can see.

Safety Staircase

The fences helped discourage patients from throwing themselves down the stairs.

Bandbrücke

The conveyorway that carried the sintering material to the mixing floor at the top of the plant.

Ruined Cottage

A side view showing the extreme structural damage to what I believe is the Masonic Cottage. I honestly cannot unravel how some of this was done, unless the local armory is missing a 4″ canon and some cartridge shot.

Third Floor Meets Second Floor

I wanted to see the third floor to get a better view, but the third floor had already been demolished. The old walls had cascaded down the staircases. This building is gone, now, as you can expect.

Dock Wall Door

The city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.

Refrigeration Pump

These steam powered pumps were integral to the cooling of the meat packing plant next door.

Grand Staircase

The grand staircase with little balconies leaning over it. All the stone stairs are broken and graffiti marks every wall.

Stairs to Nowhere

Left: a ladder and hatch to the roof of the Temple Opera Building. Right: a false wall hides the staircase that runs right into the roof, which used to be third floor of the building. Note how the bannister is simply cut off.

Peeling Stair I

One of the few windows that escaped steel plating the last time the hospital was sealed tight to let nature roam within.

Teenage Art Gallery

And I forget just why I taste / Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile / I found it hard, it’s hard to find / Oh well, whatever, never mind (Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”)

Treppenflur

One of the staircases that connected the lab, the plant, and the offices.

Lockers

Lockers for the boiler room workers.

354

Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.

Schmidt Brew Kettle

A brewmaster’s desk leans beside a long-disused stainless steel kettle. The staircase above goes to another level of kettles, which are visibly older.

Entrance to BOM

Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.

Blending House

Blending the explosive ingredients was dangerous. It is no wonder that the blending house had so many emergency slides.

Colorful Night

At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.

Pipe Hangers

Rims where bulbs were, light were motors were, stairs were people were.

Hoist Room Panorama

On the left is the broken glass room that contains the controls for the cable spool, now gone, that sat in the metal shell on the right. The stairs led down to the hoisting engine itself. You can make out the slits where the cable ran up to the headframe tower through the gaping archway.

Side Staircase, 2013

A strange little staircase on the side of the orphanage puts the scale of the building in perspective. It’s big, by U.P. standards!

Paradies

Looking out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.

Hand

Hunter climbing up to the coal tower.

SWP4- Offices

I wonder if these windows were bricked after the 1950 explosion with the hopes that, if another silos blew, the people in this office would be better protected.

Star Landing

A white star marks the landing between the Keeper’s Quarters (Second Floor) and the radiobeacon and furnace rooms (First Floor).

Dock Stairs

Before it was demolished, there was one good staircase the led to the middle of the dock. Trees grew from it.

Workers’ Stairs

One of the oldest buildings had a wide central staircase with well worn steps. They were utilitarian and beautiful.

Film: Gold Floatation

After crushing, these machines would float lighter material to the surface of the water, where it would be skimmed and discarded. Gold and silver laden stone would sink to the bottom, where it was collected for the next stage of processing. Leica/Summilux 35/Ektar 100

New Brewhouse, 2005

2005. Looking at the brewhouse from the top of the staircase the goes to the tunnels.

Standard Oil Boiler Room

Standing where the Standard Oil’s boiler used to sit; the coal room is on the right, and would have been filled from trackside.

Trommel

The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.

Old Boiler Room

The old boilers of the steam plant have been mostly gutted to remove loose asbestos.

Cut Short

This is what I believe to be the Masonic Cottage, where infected Freemasons would be treated together and enjoy some simple luxuries because of their social connections. Freemasonry is still popular in North Dakota.

Cafeteria

The great entrance to the Service Building shows the detail once present in the old hospital.

Glass Block – (C)SUBSTREET

I am not sure, but I think this section was a storehouse; it has two ramps that connect the rail yard outside and the blacksmith shop. On all of the historic doors that face that part of the yard, signs caution workers to look out for cars…

Nitrating Line

The the left, the nitrating line in War City. To the right, War City’s sole suburb, Charlestown, IN.

headFrame of Mind

This is a great example of a combination rock house; the silos below used to fill trains with ore dropped from mine cars pulled to the top of the structure.

Boiler Row

The boiler room has four big boilers in it, which seems like overkill. No wonder this plant could supply power to the works and the town at full capacity!

Panel

Most of the control panels were faceless. No doubt, they were parted out to keep other sugar mills alive.

Mill Door

Beautiful doors separated the boiler room and the sugar mill. Can you imagine the gracefully curving steps in a power plant today?

Workhouse III

This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.

Ghost Escape

The alley-mounted fire escape is long gone, but lamps over the bricked-up windows and a dark outline show how it zig zagged.

Tankless Brewhouse

Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.

Apartment Corridor

The top floor of the apartment seemed so empty without the furniture that once adorned it. Instead, my eyes were drawn to the worn paths in the floor between the rooms.

Dominion- The Long Way Up

Looking up the Dominion Elevator’s tower. I especially like this picture because it shows how so much of the electrical conduits wound round through the mostly hollow space.

Sonnenstrahlen

Sonnenstrahlen, “sunbeams”, come through the kicked-up coke dust covering everything below the sintering floor.

Pilot House Pride

“What’s that diamond thingy on the Pilot House?” you ask? It’s a 1920s-era radio transmission direction finder, a pre-radar navigation aid. Lit with diffused flash.

Spiral Staircase

A floating spiral staircase, one of two, that link the foyer with the lounge and balcony level. Now the balcony level is a small second stage. A panoramic view of Split Rock LIghthouse wraps around the bannisters.

Half-Arch of the Wash House

Glazed-brick walls catch the reflections of half an arch, backlighting the cool curving staircase. It’s all custom, baby.

Mouthy

Open wide! Here comes the sugar beets!

New Palace Stairs

A tight-winding wooden staircase leads to where the ropes are tied above the stage. I am standing next to the big old film speakers while taking this.

Anteroom

Beautiful details in the plaster moulding have been preserved by the sheer height of this room between the cathedral and auditorium.

Headframe Cyclone

Wind-battered catwalk lights between the shaft house and headframe/rockhouse building.

Cheratte Shaft No. 3

Looking through the dark door at Shaft 3, when my naked eyes could only make out a staircase lit dimly from above.

Aaron

The top of the headframe, and in a sense, the mine itself. This pulley carried the life line of the mine and the men in it.

Lighthouse Basement

The spiral staircase ends in the basement, where two oil tanks (for the lantern) and a freshwater tank (for the Keeper) were stored. The basement consists of two long arched vaults like this.

Slate Stairs

Two windows above the slate Grand Staircase reflect let a little blue sky skip off the black.

Stair Landing

The gothic landing between balcony and classroom level and the ground floor.

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.

We Have Arrived

The most pointless, beautiful and nuclear-bomb-proof catwalk I’ve been on to date. It goes between two high levels in its own bottom-lit concrete capsule in the center of the tallest, thickest building. Hang on, we’re riding this one out.

Water Wheel II

A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.

Brewhouse Staircase

In the brewhouse between the preheating tank and kettle room. The spiral staircase goes into a kettle annex where a few smaller stainless steel kettles hide. If you looked right from this frame you would see the bottom of one of the kettles like the bottom of a steel mixing bowl.

Grand Stair

This ornamental stair is cast iron and used to connect all floors of the Administration building. Now it connects the first and second floor, then the third and fourth floors, with a strange cinder block and drywall barrier separating the new and old sections of the building. Note the insulation on the floor to seal heat into the lower floors that were used as offices until the hospital closed. On the corners of the staircase are lions, on the corners of the suspended section of stair are down-hanging pineapples. Set in the stairs themselves are shield motifs with slate tops.

Consumer’s Grand Stair

The wrought iron staircase for what was the Consumer’s Brewery Brew House, as indicated by very fine cast landings with the company logo. The staircase is in bad condition; someone had run a forklift or something similar into the bottom in addition to copious vandalism and water damage. Holes in the floor, like in the upper-right corner indicate where stainless steel kettles used to be before they were scrapped.

Breached Infirmary

A heavy steel security door, taken right off its hinges. This was likely installed after Grafton State School took over the hospital.

War City Power

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.

Arcade Arches

The Arcade itself, a predecessor of the indoor mall. Don’t you love those arches?