A sentinel stands watch over an abandoned Hannah, ND house. Medium Format.
A shallow creek traces Illinois Gulch toward the Chain O’ Mines mill. Ball mills are laid out in the sun.
Footprints of houses past; tailings of mines past.
The most derelict of the old bonded warehouses. Note the barrel elevator on the side of it!
Mitchell Avenue, the main drag of a ghost town. Traces of asphalt and curbs are barely visible through patches of grass. In the old plan of the town, Mitchell Hotel would be to my direct left in this scene, and about 10 houses would flank this street to the left and right.
A bedroom, from the basement. The Dog Days are Over.
Ground floor windows were built to be barred.
Between elevators, a single tree has taken root. I think it’s growing out of a rail grade, so the seed might have fallen off of a train.
A back-lit tree with the silhouette of a roof spire in the background.
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.
A sizable crane on the corner of the engine house still swings out.
Castle, Montana is a ghost town. Almost no signs remain that it was a mining town.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
Two of the remaining four towers in the projects. Throughout our time there we saw and heard squatters inside and chose not to go in. What do you call a smart choice made in the midst of a dumb choice? There should be a word for that.
A self portrait on a tire swing outside the Service Building.
Giant chunks of cooled slag form an island near Mud Lake.
Scanned after being recovered from the bottom of an old wooden box for a few years. Circa 2005.
From left to right: shaft building, headframe, rock house, hoist house.
Off the beaten path is this old LTV sign. Now it points to a ghost town and dead dock.
The second floor was hit by arson years ago, but it still carries the telltale features of its original design, specifically the woodwork below the roof.
The last of four radar domes on the base.
A truck loading dock for raw materials. Looking at the concrete, you can sort of tell where the rails used to run.
Above Treasure Mountain Mine is the capped shaft of the defunct San Juan Queen Mine. This is taken near that location, looking down the road that connects the mines to Animas Forks.
The west portal of the tunnel is open, and if it wasn’t for the rough track, I would think by looking at it that a train could be coasting up behind me any moment. Mamiya 6/Portra 160
Trees by the beautiful Nurse’s Cottage above and behind the Kirkbride. One side looks out over farmland while the other faces the back of the hospital grounds. As of 2014, the city is allowing artists to rent spaces inside.
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.
Ava near the Memorial Building. The block glass embedded in the sidewalk here is actually a skylight for the tunnel below, which connects the Memorial Building to the steam and supply systems of the hospital.
Taken from under the headframe.
Trees between duplexes overshadow the buildings they were planted to shield; revenge for the boards on the windows.
Past the underground repair shop is this cliffside adit.
One of the last times I saw the skyway standing. ADM’s Meal Elevator is in the distance.
At sunrise the fog rose near the solvent recovery line. You can barely read the “XXX” warning.
2015. Exterior of chapel.
Spots of yellow gravel mark gold mines with nothing left on the surface. Is this one of the drainage pipes?
The barracks are being reclaimed by nature.
SFAAP’s iconic smokestacks. You’d notice if you drove past this on the highway.
These rails used to connect to those inside the Santiago Tunnel. Now they dangle above tailings.
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 wonder what this guy is thinking, walking through the complex.
At night the city lights blast through the broken windows, casting crazy colors through the off-white interior of the mill.
A ‘Hot Metal Car’ that would transport molten steel across the ‘Hot Metal Bridge’ from the furnaces to the mills.
A view of the Harris offices, complete with great block glass.
A creek has cut through the middle of the mine property, washing away the loose rock and eroding the foundations of the Concentrator. It’s pretty, though! It’s be belief, though I cannot prove it, that some of the water here originates from inside the now-buried Santiago Tunnel, which is no doubt flooded to a great extent.
Blending the explosive ingredients was dangerous. It is no wonder that the blending house had so many emergency slides.
The buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.
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.
Every walking path was strewn with debris. It was hard to imagine that all that was inside once.
The main street of the ghost town is also the maintenance road for the BNSF line that bisects Colmor.
Gopher Ordnance Works, aka the U-Lands, is a landscape where roots and boughs break apart concrete and steel.
One of a pair of poles to hold the electric lines for the streetcars entering and exiting the tunnel.
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 aerial tram at the Mayflower Mill gives a sense of what the Gold Prince Mill in Animas Forks once looked like. Trams connected the mill to the mines around it without the need to negotiate trees, rivers, and rough terrain.
Looking out of the “back door”, where equipment could be lifted into the factory with a crane. The bottom of the coal conveyor can be seen outside.
The end of the dock disappears in the fog.
Looking at the Broadway from across Broadway, a beautiful Buffalo day. Note the glazed terra cotta facade–and the signs of fire damage from the first floor.
While the maps name this the compressor house, I believe, based on its size and number of heavy machine mounts, that it also housed the pumps to drain the mine.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
Fall fog swept up from the river valley, making the building look more like it felt–a ghost, out of time and place.
One of my favorite night views of Fort Snelling’s so-called Upper Post, taken between snowstorms.
One thing I like to do at Gopher is imagine the shape of the planned buildings based on the partial structures.
2013. A perfect summer day meets a beautiful old roundhouse on the edge of town.
Sliding fireproof doors and an old hydrant at Harlowton’s old yards.
Wintertime is quiet, except for the planes overhead.
The trees were so overgrown, it was difficult to see the hotel at all from the road.
Looking north from the east portal of the tunnel… a beautiful place. Wilderness. Mamiya 6/Portra 160
Kat dancing down the trestle, which is one of the highest in the state, standing about 100 feet over the road. Mamiya 6/Portra 160
A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!
C’mon and grab your friends… we’ll go to very—rusty lands…
One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.
Dr. Muchow’s offices stand near his ‘new’ mill, but they show evidence of vandalism.
Near Howardsville, Colorado, the Animas River gets quite wide. This is near the Little Nation Mill, which is worth a stop if you’re traveling north from SIlverton. It’s also near the former Gold King Mine, which “blew” in 2015 and flooded the Animas River with toxic mine water.
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.
Heavy industrial looks good in cotton candy pink.
The overgrown offices serve no one at this former Federal Elevator in Snowflake, MB.
The coal extractor swings back and forth, ripping coal from the ground and throwing it on a conveyor belt to be burned a few miles away.
I included this image to illustrate the height of the headgrame and the distance between it and the hoist house. Of course, compared with the depth of the mine shaft, this distance is short.
Like a railgun pointed at the Rockies… the boom would direct tailings–junk rock–outside of the dredge pond.
Cheratte lives on in the shadow of its abandoned coal mine, although most of the shops are abandoned and many of the city’s landmarks have fallen into disrepair. Like other Belgian mining towns, those who have stayed in the town have kept up their apartments, so much of the company-building duplexes and homes are in great condition.
This office, as seen from the power plant, administered the bonded warehouses. There used to be a few more of them, according to old maps and postcards.
The back of the castle is barely visible through the trees that have grown thick around the walls, making it look so much older.
A damaged roof channeled rain onto the adobe walls, cutting them in half. In the distance, a preserved house and the ruins of the Colmor School.
The the left, the nitrating line in War City. To the right, War City’s sole suburb, Charlestown, IN.
Camera: Pentax 67.
The lower portal of the Selby Tunnel, as it looks today. The area is a popular spot for homeless to camp–can you spot the tent?
In the corner of the former school grounds…
The mill was powered, in part, by water flowing through turbines under it. After the flow worked the industrial heart of the flour mill, it was exit to the Mississippi here.
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.
Hunter and the Hoist House.
When I saw this section, I knew the dock was abandoned.
Ducking the steam lines overhead between the mixers and compressors, a water tower says “good morning,” right past the slack power lines. This is the sleepy uptown of the war city.
Approaching the tunnel I heard about for so long…
The bricks are decaying at different rates at this corner, making it especially colorful.
2005. Looking across the Mississippi from a park the night after the first snow.
Vents in the boards over the windows helps prevent mold and animals from getting too crazy inside.
The rust garden’s brick centerpiece contrasts the muted winter Kentucky palette.
A safe distance from Prize Mine is its dynamite storage vault, designed to explode up–not out–should the worst happen.
Enger Tower is an 75 foot stone structure built in 1939. It overlooks the elevators of Rice’s Point that are, for the most part, far older than it.
A row of houses north of Pommenige.
The purpose of the concentrator was to separate the gold and silver-rich ore from the waste rock. You can tell from the design that the process relies heavily on gravity.
Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.
The Eureka Mill, historically known as Sunnyside Mill, is now the gateway to Animas Forks.
Behind the small stage is a hallway signed by practically every act that walked through its doors. There’s also a pair of palms. Since all the heat in the building collects in this area, it did seem more tropical.
The sidewalks are littered with rocks.
“M.H. ’56; Al Malmsten ’44”. Brick Graffiti Series.
Ammunition had to be tested on site before shipment. That was done here. These heavy concrete bunkers deflected rounds harmlessly into the earth.
Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.
This bridge over Eagle River is beautiful.
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 dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.
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.
An experimental shaft dug in the 1950s and its Hoist House.
A 5-minute exposure of the tunnel and stars, and even some of Duluth’s city lights bouncing off the clouds. A single off-camera flash in the tunnel gives the effect of an oncoming train.
Everything had to be tested before being sent to the front lines. Here’s where smaller ammunition would be test-fired. I was able to dig up several misfired rounds. Now they live in my collection of oddities.
Below Grand Army Mine is Gold Collar. A ‘collar’ is the braced section around the portal of a mine shaft.
The company headquarters. Abandoned last time I drove past it, though it is the classiest building in downtown South Bend.
Looking out of the biggest cave into the shell of the burned brewery, almost 125 years after it was destroyed by fire.
The exterior of the factory is unassuming
The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.
Near the old slag dump there are the remains of the pouring buckets that received the molten steel from the US Steel blast furnaces, filled to the brim with pig iron. They must be incredibly heavy!
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.
One of the large barracks. All of them are overgrown like this.
Many outdoor areas of the plant have become unofficial city dumps. The skeleton doesn’t care.
Looking through skylights of the payroll office toward the Cheratte No.1’s tower. This is where workers would wait in line to receive pay, surrounded by the mine workings.
Fergus Falls State Hospital. Well, technically moonlight… but a with stars nonetheless! The orange glow from the left and in the rear of the building are exterior lights on associated–former State Hospital–buildings. All other light is from the full moon that evening.
While it looks like a sidewalk, this is the roof the infamous (thanks to Ghost Adventures) steam tunnel that connects the steam plant and demolished Hart House.
It’s a small world… look at it.
The lower floors of King Elevator are scrapped and ruined. Nearly everything that is not concrete has been destroyed. Some time ago it seems that someone built a tarp-roof hovel inside of the ground floor.
Typical New Mexico ranch fencing. The power lines follow the rails between Springer and Wagon Mound.
Behind one of the kitchens is one of the few pieces of furniture remaining. Beside it, a small electric space heater–small by 1970s standards.
On the left you can see one of the later air shafts for the mine below, which allowed for natural air exchange with the main production areas of the coal mine. That is to say, there were no fans blowing fresh air down below.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
Taking a midwinter hike in Cramer after a blizzard and ice storm was my idea. Do my friends seem upset to you?
Mamiya GA645 / Kodak Pro 400
Pozo Mine, the most menacing mine building I’ve ever seen. Black and white film, shot with the Fuji GX680, a beast of a camera.
Beds line a basement room that is part way between the concepts of inside and outside. Boards and bricks were falling while I was photographing it—stay out.
After a short rainfall douses the mill in downtown Fergus Falls, the river next to the brick walls swells and the sounds of water overtakes the echos of the nearby bars. Reflections are on the foundation of the former distribution and rail building.
There is no denying that the Fergus Falls asylum was a beautiful place, especially around sunset.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
The office was redder than the rest of the building.
In what used to be a hallway under what used to be a skyway, each with what had conveyor belts for the grain that once was stored here. The fog doesn’t change.
When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.
The outside of Whiting Mine, as it looks today.
Early bird catches the shadow of Battle Mountain blaring across the ghost town.
The inside of the hotel, as seen from inside its beer cave.
This building would store and maintain warheads. It was right next to the launch pad, but the two were separated by a high mound.
Looking toward the power station at the edge of the explosives plant.
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
North of the assembly complex is a storage network of earthen and concrete bunkers.
“It must have been beautiful once.” “Yeah, especially in the winter.”
The walkway to the end of the dock is elevated, so one walks above the trees and bushes growing in the rotting taconite pellets that have collected over the years.
The tangled telegraph lines between Mitchell and the engine house keep the old pole from topping in the wind.
I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)
Redlining is the practice of shutting certain races out of neighborhoods, and it is still a big problem today. Such behaviors were a big factor in creating the need for these projects.
A humble prairie elevator at Fannystelle, Manitoba. What a name!
The big door at the bottom of the concentrator was where a tram once connected to lower the (pre-) processed ore into the river valley, where the railroad was. It’s unclear whether this ever connected directly to Eureka’s Sunnyside mill, although it’s possible.
Two versions of Detroit. One where buildings stand tall and proud, and one where they wilt under the sun. It’s an amazing juxtaposition.
Looking past the Osborn along the side of the Hughitt Slip, where there have always been grain elevators for more than 100 years.
Iron becoming dirt becoming birches.
I’m not sure, actually, whether this was an outhouse (right), but it seems likely. In any case, it was connected by a covered staircase to the Bunk House (left). The soil here was not all tailings, so there is a bit of thick grass–almost the only in sight!
I wonder who boarded the family house… the EPA?
On the roof, looking toward Jay Cook Park over the ruins of the Hart House. You can see how Nopmeing (“out in the woods) got its name. Fujicolor 100 on Leica M7.
A street side exposure of the original 1914 section of the orphanage. Turned into black and white to deemphasize all the graffiti across the front steps.
My first view of the tunnel was in the dead of winter. In spite of being in the middle of the forest, it was totally silent. Mamiya GA645 / Kodak Pro 400
This ruin was once the Toltec Mine, a producing gold and silver claim that operated into the 1940s.
The quenching water was reused over and over.
The great entrance to the Service Building shows the detail once present in the old hospital.
The cemetery for the old asylum is, sadly, largely unmarked. Only in recent years has there been a real effort to locate and identify the remains there.
This tree caught my eye. Note the bench swing near it. Portra 160.
These houses were built for the use of the lighthouse keepers in 1913 (left) and 1916 (right). The second house was added when the entry added a fourth light and required a second rotation. Today, there are no unbroken windows in either building.
At Treasure Mountain mine. This collapsed building was likely the 1937 Compressor House, which pushed compressed air and water into the Sanitago Tunnel in the time it was producing.
Wind took the spring melt on the trees growing in taconite pellets and made it airborne. Loading chutes in the background.
Shuttered windows on the side of one of the collapsing bonded warehouses.
Looking out toward Redore from the second floor of the workshop. This is why I love living in Minnesota.
A shuttered house at the end of the block doesn’t even have boards on it anymore.
Between blizzards on the hill, I look out over the Chateau. Kodak Portra 400 on Voightlander Bessa.
Inside this small iron clad mine is a couch and some clothes. It seems that for a short while, someone was living inside of it…
The moon highlights the contrails over the engine house in the middle of the night. Foreground light painted.
Looking toward the Quenching Tower from the coal tower platform.
Another perfect Indianan sunset alights like a bird on the tops of the vent houses and tree-packed smokestacks.
My first picture at Nopeming, sometime around 2004. The same year that the county stopped mowing the lawn.
A yellow house above the mineshaft.
Shells of mixing buildings.
The bridge here moved workers between the dock, the approach tracks, and refueling buildings.
Taken from the arm of the pocket loader–note the tree growing out of the conveyor belt. Often where you see old piles of taconite, trees are springing up. The byproducts of the pelletization process break down and make a really fertile mix, especially with all the iron content!
I really liked the bulky pillars on this outer-ring cottage.
A different kind of tree fort.
The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.
In the distance, the San Haven Sanatorium water tower.
In front of the mine building the ground has opened up, showing a one-subterranean hallway. Locals seem to be using the dangerous hole as a trash dump.
Looking toward Old Taylor Distillery from the roof of Old Crow.
The Tilston School,built in the late 1960s. In front of it is a memorial and model to the first schoolhouse. This building, however, has been turned into a kind of town dump. The classrooms are filled with mattresses and discarded tires and trash.
“Paint the fence,” they said, but I don’t feel like it… who cares, anyway.
Those able to work would be compelled to help fix up the facility, grow, harvest, and prepare food for fellow ‘inmates’, or work on vocational skills.
The playground used to be near the school which is now in ruins.
On the left are rows of dayrooms; on the right is one of two long hallways which connect the two halves of the hospital. The large, center section of the hallway would fit chairs for patients to look out on the gardens. They called it a conservatory. This hallway would be as close as some patients would get to nature.
The hiking around Central City is beautiful and full of history. Just get a proper topo map!
Colleen on the roof.
Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.
This building had the rusty remains of a few mattresses, likely used in the 1940s when this site was last occupied.
The gold mine is now a gravel pit.
A long exposure of the launch pad and its dedicated guard shack. In the middle of the base is a tall antenna which was part of the MARS program during the Gulf War. The MARS program helped connect calls between deployed soldiers and their families.