Before Portland-Huron Cement’s Duluth Plant was (mostly) demolished and (partly) turned into a hotel, the top of its silos gave a cinematic view of elevator row.
A diesel crane and conveyor belt tripper are the major pieces of equipment that dominate the dock.
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.
Taken several years before the tornado story when the weather, and the condition of the buildings, were nice.
If it wasn’t for the humming and crackling of the wires, I could believe I had arrived to a post apocalyptic landscape.
The remains of the site radar beside the command building.
A look down the 1950s foundry building, moments after sunset.
The “Bentleyville” Christmas tree, part of a winter light show, in storage.
An orphan culvert and camper, both tossed aside where nobody that will see will care.
The pitch of the roof is more typical for areas with lots of snow—not the border of Ohio and Kentucky. So, I assume this roofline accommodated some equipment inside for trains—note the tracks.
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.
Science Alert. When the sun strikes an object, that object absorbs some of the infared light in the form of heat. The heat absorbed by the old Soo dock absorbed and radiated that energy to melt off the snow from the ice around it, making it very reflective.
Daisy Mill could accept shipments from water, rail, and truck at one time. Now everything comes and goes by rail.
Beside the half-demolished Thunder Bay Elevator shops and offices (brick building) are some rusting fishing boats. A little bit of SWP #7 is seen in the upper right.
Calumet stands at the side of the Union Pacific railyard.
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
Shadows of the timberwork and cribbing are cast across cracked lake ice. My footprints follow cat tracks.
The spectacular, if precarious, view of downtown Minneapolis from the roof of ADM Annex 4. Note the great messages left by various graffiti artists who made it to the spot.
The approach to Dock 4 is long demolished, so it is only accessible when the lake freezes.
A single cloud makes its way to Buffington Harbor and Lake Michigan from the quiet backroads of the plant.
Electric Steel’s bins reflect the sunset.
These concrete blocks were formed to be solid mounts for machinery. All the metal was scrapped in the late 1990s, leaving these modern ruins. Seagulls love them.
Standing on the ruins of the burned Northern Pacific RR Freight House. It’s the best place to watch ships move around the harbor. Some things haven’t changed…
Looking at the huge and modern Cargill B2 from the circa-1919 Lake Superior “I”. This is a rather unique perspective of Enger Tower and Skyline.
My first picture at Nopeming, sometime around 2004. The same year that the county stopped mowing the lawn.
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
Canal Park (see bridge) and some of old downtown, formerly Duluth City Hall and Police Department (center-left). At least one star has appeared in the sky…
Even in monochrome, you can probably tell what colors were over Hastings that evening: Red, White, and Blue.
The power lines follow the street, down to the mineshaft. Everything revolved around the mine, it seemed.
The two antennae are retracted–the position they would be in if the base was under attack.
Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.
The sun shining through one of the buildings; everything was overgrown.
This sea leg was installed to unload grain boats. It’s pretty much a big bucket elevator that can be moved and lowered into waiting boats.
The coal water power plant stack accompanied the smell of an arson.
It was interesting that, even though storms had carried the wooden walkway that stretched under the dock, these piles of spilled taconite remain where they had dropped.
This sign was important when trains ran the length of the elevator.
From a distance (here, Union Yards), you can still see ARMOUR spelled out on the smokestack in white brick.
A yellow house above the mineshaft.
The top of Dock 4 was too dangerous to explore, but this panorama gives you an idea of the view (and how rotten the wood was).
Watching the sun set behind downtown Detroit is my favorite memory from the building.
From the summer a bunch of Australians visited Minnesota.
The four buildings seen here comprise almost all of the notable remaining structures.
The control room floats above the top of the dock atop a spiral staircase.
The sun sets in front of a huge concrete building—about four times the size of the power plant. Probably a corn storage bin from an ethanol operation that ran here in the 1980s.
Camera: Pentax 67.
The crumbling building barely contained the colors inside of it.
An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
The powerplant was roughly in the middle of the rail works.
Like a grave marker, a single post remembers where Dock 3 stood on the bay.
The same view in 2007.
Superior, WI, some have said, is a suburb of Duluth, MN. It’s more like a sub-suburb, I would argue. It’s the industrial district that is technically in another state, one that sells beer on Sundays. Perspective is looking out of the mostly-disassembled larger (newer) elevator.
Blue skies and rust-pocked siding contrast the high-altitude blue sky. By the time I had worked my way back to the tram, it was sunset.
A poor panorama showing where the turntable used to be for the roundhouse.
The approach to the dock is rigidly geometric. I always thought its outline was beautiful against the lake that, by contrast, was always moving.
The Algosteel navigating Superior Entry.
Exploring the plant while live Reggae plays nearby was bizarre.
A windmill marks one corner of GOW.
Not a wisp of smoke can be seen today.
The back of the neon sign before it was converted to LED lighting. The image is mirrored so it can be read.
As the Barker steamed past the dock and island, the sunset casts the shadow of the Taconite Harbor receiving trestle on the boat. Through the fog, you can see some of the islands that were joined into a breakwater.
Taken just after the sun set over Duluth. Don’t you love that green glow?
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.
The fresh snow makes the whole complex look a lot cleaner than it actually is.
Taken in the last few minutes of the day. You can tell by the way that the wall is deteriorating that the windows using to have an arched top!
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.
A panorama showing the biggest building in Gilman—unless you count the massive mine below as a structure.
The Port Arthur elevator row, as seen from the edge of Fort William.
Showering red-hot coke fresh from the furnaces near the Coal Tower (in the back) was the Quenching Tower’s duty (front).
Two roads; the left one you can walk down, but you have to answer questions when people ask. The right one–you don’t want to be found on that one.
The nurse’s station on this floor, a ward still in its original design, featured a half-door where patients could get their medicine. Portra 160.
The crane on Dock 2, as seen from Dock 4 right after sunset. Notice the old light tower is warped.
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…
Even with a hundred people parked in front of the lakeside relic, it was invisible.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
I couldn’t help but include this ghost sign for a demolished motel…
Looking from abandoned to active. The end of Dock 6 often has a crane and some shacks on it, as the chutes aren’t used anymore. Instead, conveyors are installed on the land-side of the dock that fill docked vessels, making the end of the dock little more than a breakwater and a place to park repair and recovery equipment.
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.
“Crunch, crunch, crunch,” said the ground. “I know,” I replied.
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.
The fantastic red elevator that is Pool #61, built 1928.
The missiles were stored without fuel, to help prevent mishaps. This is the fuel pumping building and one of the tanks.
In the many-windowed metal building, the lumberyard buildings and the abandoned starch works buildings are separated by a thick wall of pallets.
Summertime is when Duluth goes to the lakeside to listen to music, visit traveling fairs, and talk to neighbors about the smell of the lake. As seen from the castle walls.
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!
The iconic outline of a prairie sentinel. Quintessential rural industrial architecture.
The parking lot is in better condition than most of the complex. The left building is the lab.
Colleen on the roof.
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.
The ice reflects the blue sky on the rust. The sunset blasts through the concrete pillars holding it all up.
The Algosteel crew strikes a pose while heading through Superior Entry toward Allouez
The common rooms bulge out of the institutional geometry of the wards.
At the top of the workhouse, dust collection pipes weave through cross-crossing conveyors.
The laundry building, where many of the tunnels came to an end. It looks very East Coast industrial to me.
Looking out across the elevator row from Portland Huron’s roof. Don’t you love the color of the sky?
Winter skies over Allouez Bay. From a distance, it looks almost fragile.
Delmar #4 is like two elevators in one, in capacity and design.
This gives you a sense for what it looks like to stand on the roof of the main production building at sunset.
The Daisy Rolling Mill has been heavily altered since it was built in the 1890s.
There isn’t an unbroken window in the entire historic complex as of 2013.
Giant chunks of cooled slag form an island near Mud Lake.
The windows reflect the sky. The bricks hit the ground.
While walking out I snapped this last shot of the sunset drenching the castle-top watertower (staying with the theme), right before the sun dipped below the hill across the stream from which the whiskey was distilled.
Looking at The Windy City from the top of the coal tower. The pond you see is the former ACME Coke coal yard.
Here you can see the end of the scrapping phase in 2011.
Everyone loves water towers.