An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
To the right is the spiral staircase. This building had a definite “floor problem”.
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.
Stairs and power lines enter the abandoned depot. Shingles slide off the rotten roof. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
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.
A dead belt-o-vator.
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.
As my friend Jonathan would say, “on a human scale.”
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”)
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.
Shoes and booze, backstage.
This part of the workhouse was sheathed in fiberglass, but now you can see its insides from a mile away.
A typical hallway in the rocket assembly line.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
On this production line, the office was elevated far above the floor.
Iron lions in the doctor’s apartment guard the way to the dining room.
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
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.
This building was an office and lounge for engineers. It is also demolished.
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.
The engine room.
The office was redder than the rest of the building.
An alarm panel in the powerpplant, now demolished.
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.
Beautiful details in the plaster moulding have been preserved by the sheer height of this room between the cathedral and auditorium.
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.
A wide view of the poor house. Look at the smokestack and elevator shaft, which show the former roofline.
The underground portions of the engine shop were mostly filled in.
The city constructed a wall in the early 2000s to discourage visitors. Note the staircase is cut off, too.
Beautiful doors separated the boiler room and the sugar mill. Can you imagine the gracefully curving steps in a power plant today?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The grand staircase with little balconies leaning over it. All the stone stairs are broken and graffiti marks every wall.
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.
Before it was demolished, there was one good staircase the led to the middle of the dock. Trees grew from it.
The roof compromised, rain water rolls down the main stairway.
Lockers for the boiler room workers.
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.
A snapshot showing the staircase and catwalks in the middle of the boiler room.
Looking out the finishing end of the sintering plant at a network of torched-off catwalks through a maze of rust and asbestos. Paradise.
The grain-centric buildings had automatic fire doors.
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
Most of the control panels were faceless. No doubt, they were parted out to keep other sugar mills alive.
“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.
The elevator tower seems to have been built with expansion of the dock in mind.
The company headquarters. Abandoned last time I drove past it, though it is the classiest building in downtown South Bend.
A matrix panorama of the brewhouse staircase, post-scrapping. So pretty…
Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.
The classic Solvay shot. Everyone has it.
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.
The lights of the active docks keep the retired #6 up all night.
One of the few windows that escaped steel plating the last time the hospital was sealed tight to let nature roam within.
A rare door left on the workhouse. The stairs to the left led down into a flooded basement. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
Inside the pilot copper concentrator.
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.
Wind-battered catwalk lights between the shaft house and headframe/rockhouse building.
It would be a shame if this building is not preserved. Word is (as of 2015) that construction may start on this section soon.
Another ruined spiral staircase in the mill.
The old movie theatre sign was sitting right inside the sealed front doors.
Two windows above the slate Grand Staircase reflect let a little blue sky skip off the black.
Where the tailings boom meets the mill.
Looking up from the ground floor at the various levels of the sugar mill.
This is where the lime would spill out.
Glazed-brick walls catch the reflections of half an arch, backlighting the cool curving staircase. It’s all custom, baby.
A generator in the power room… steam powered.
Sonnenstrahlen, “sunbeams”, come through the kicked-up coke dust covering everything below the sintering 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.
An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
The side stairs were worn smooth by use.
The old boilers of the steam plant have been mostly gutted to remove loose asbestos.
The basements of the barracks were often stone and brick, and many of them were connected by short tunnels.
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.
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.
Camera: Voigtlander Bessa
Film: Acros 100
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.
The main floor of the hospital was crammed with furniture.
On my first visit to the roundhouse, the control booth was extant.
The control room floats above the top of the dock atop a spiral staircase.
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.
Snow flies across the frame as the sunken cribbing freezes bellow the concrete.
Taken just after the sun set over Duluth. Don’t you love that green glow?
Looking across the catwalk behind the ore chutes, when they were up, and at the top of the ore chutes during loading.
The superstructure for the sea-leg skyways serves no purpose now… the offices are bricked up, too. Why?
Looking through the dark door at Shaft 3, when my naked eyes could only make out a staircase lit dimly from above.
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.
The bottom of the stairs leading from the work floor to the cafeteria.
Many outdoor areas of the plant have become unofficial city dumps. The skeleton doesn’t care.
The railing were jealous of both the bricks and bits, and chose instead to dissolve like this.
The alley-mounted fire escape is long gone, but lamps over the bricked-up windows and a dark outline show how it zig zagged.
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.
Looking toward the Female Infirmary Ward from the long, glass, Conservatory hallway.
Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.
Between the catwalks of Furnace 6, the molted ore would flow through the chute.
This big rusty sphere hides behind the incomplete 5-stack.
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.
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.
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.
The gothic landing between balcony and classroom level and the ground floor.
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.
Fancy spikes to help keep suicidal patients from climbing the fence and leaping down the stairs.
A late look at the brewhouse, long after the stainless steel tanks were scrapped.
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.
Platforms and abandoned outbuildings, as seen in 2005.
The first step of the filtering process is being spun through this tube.
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.
One of the staircases that connected the lab, the plant, and the offices.
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.
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.
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.
The fences helped discourage patients from throwing themselves down the stairs.
The back of the mill reads “Red River Milling Company”
The stairs that connect the breakwater and light station (Leica M6/Kodak Ektar).
In a strange loft next to the brewhouse are these twin kettles, which seem much older than the main kettles in the brewhouse.
The top of the barracks staircase.
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.
The the left, the nitrating line in War City. To the right, War City’s sole suburb, Charlestown, IN.
The second floor in the smaller house, which was a bit smaller than the Head Keeper’s house.
The office stairs. Part of Herb’s morning walk.
These steam powered pumps were integral to the cooling of the meat packing plant next door.
The former, and much-altered, main entrance and grand staircase.
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.
Blast Furnace 7 as seen from the ore yard. Imagine running up those stairs through blast furnace smoke.
This was not always the top of the elevator.
A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.
Downtown and the blight.
An old handcart sits next to a rotting elevator.
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.
One of the oldest buildings had a wide central staircase with well worn steps. They were utilitarian and beautiful.
Silverton’s elevator, pictured here, is still active.
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.
The Arcade itself, a predecessor of the indoor mall. Don’t you love those arches?
I love the ghost sign across these two elevators, originally built as Superior Elevator. It’s looking pretty rough.
2007. Exterior of Chapel.
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.
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.
Rims where bulbs were, light were motors were, stairs were people were.
The very top of the Administration Tower’s spiral staircase. There’s an old antenna of some kind there, as you can see.
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.
We people are so small.
‘Consumers Brewery’ set in the brewhouse staircase.
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.
A bumper sticker with the usual tagline. Note the detail on the radiator!
A close-up look at the distressed, but beautiful, staircase in the brewhouse.
A white star marks the landing between the Keeper’s Quarters (Second Floor) and the radiobeacon and furnace rooms (First Floor).
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.
Wide stairs between the ground, the mine shaft, and the dry house.
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.
The great entrance to the Service Building shows the detail once present in the old hospital.
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.
The tallest dock structure is an equipment elevator that connects the many dock levels.
The stairs of this elevator had their landings removed long ago to keep vandals grounded.
2005. Looking at the brewhouse from the top of the staircase the goes to the tunnels.
Inside the towering offices, Firestone-colored staircases connect senseless rows of wood-paneled offices.
Looking at the engine house (left) from atop the stoves.
The bottom of the elevator in the new foundry.
Hunter climbing up to the coal tower.
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.
Wintertime is quiet, except for the planes overhead.
The annex casts a long shadow over its old headhouse and the former UGG (currently Vitera C) elevator. Arista 100.
This mean-looking thing had a purpose, probably, but that function has been lost to decades of expansion.
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!
Offices above the labs. Note all the air handling equipment. I love the utilitarian design.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
The head distiller could walk out of their office to this balcony and overlook the whole fermentation process in a glance.
A heavy steel security door, taken right off its hinges. This was likely installed after Grafton State School took over the hospital.
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.
Just a couple guys enjoying an industrial ruin.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
Workers would undoubtedly prefer to use the belt manlift on the right.
On deck, looking at the door to the engine room.
Taken from under the headframe.
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!
The curving corridors flanking the Administration Tower are especially ornate, though the prison-like door betrays the real purpose of the building.
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!
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
Hip bump girl.
Exploring Dock 4 was a very different experience, since it was almost all metal.
A comrade lights-up where so many workers apparently congregated to do the same.
One of the occupied buildings in Nevadaville.
Stained windows and sheet metal catch the sunset from across the Ohio River.
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.
Standing where the Standard Oil’s boiler used to sit; the coal room is on the right, and would have been filled from trackside.
Open wide! Here comes the sugar beets!
The conveyorway that carried the sintering material to the mixing floor at the top of the plant.
The hospital is so self art deco that it seems like a film set!
It seems someone planned on stealing the fridge, but gave up on the second floor.
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…
Sawdust is the most classic of insulation materials.
Two signatures complement this gorgeous hand-painted sign. ‘Bowers’ from 1987 and ‘Normal’ from 1982. The blocking on the letters is still visible!
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.
The main staircase of the old hospital had… problems.
Blending the explosive ingredients was dangerous. It is no wonder that the blending house had so many emergency slides.