trees

Nitrating Line

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

Sanatorium Side

Every walking path was strewn with debris. It was hard to imagine that all that was inside once.

Entrance to BOM

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

Cooperage

One of the old cooperage buildings is largely unchanged from when it was built. The raised section of the building houses a crane.

Palms

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.

Down the Boom

Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.

Materials Yard Chutes

It is unclear whether this area was for coal dumping or ore dumping, though the huge dents in the steel plating suggests the latter.

Skyway

The old way to get to the elevator from the mill.

Lizzie Mine, Missouri Flats

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…

Carrie Tower

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

Tram Door on The Concentrator House

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.

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.

Puddle of Sky

Looking toward the Quenching Tower from the coal tower platform.

Ely’s Peak by Night

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.

Asylum by Starlight

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.

West Portal, January

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

Shaft No. 1 Tower

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.

Electric Pole

One of a pair of poles to hold the electric lines for the streetcars entering and exiting the tunnel.

1970s Wing

My first picture at Nopeming, sometime around 2004. The same year that the county stopped mowing the lawn.

Studebaker Headquarters

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

Rundblick

A panoramic view of the sintering plant’s gas plant (?). Everyone who visits must get a picture of these rusty smokestacks!

Storage Bunker

North of the assembly complex is a storage network of earthen and concrete bunkers.

Fire Brick Bucket

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!

Overgrown Pillars

One thing I like to do at Gopher is imagine the shape of the planned buildings based on the partial structures.

Blending House

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

Boarded Barracks II

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

Telegraph Lines

The tangled telegraph lines between Mitchell and the engine house keep the old pole from topping in the wind.

Wrong Side of the Fence

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.

Water Tower

In the distance, the San Haven Sanatorium water tower.

Tire Dump

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

Skyway

The exterior of the factory is unassuming

Air Compressor House

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.

Bench Swing

This tree caught my eye. Note the bench swing near it. Portra 160.

Beds in Hallway

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.

Treasure Mountain Cabin

This building had the rusty remains of a few mattresses, likely used in the 1940s when this site was last occupied.

Hiking to Cramer Tunnel

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

Overgrown Hallways

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.

Gold Creek and the Old Concentrator

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.

Tower, After the Lightning Strike

The hospital was surrounded by walking paths that crisscrossed the front green, as it was called. Part of Kirkbride’s plan was to have ample opportunities for exercise outdoors–fresh air, especially cold fresh air, was thought to have curative properties.

La Crosse Tunnel Trams

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.

AIr Vent & Lamp House

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.

I Love Birches

Looking out toward Redore from the second floor of the workshop. This is why I love living in Minnesota.

Gangway I

A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.

Barracks and Trees

One of my favorite night views of Fort Snelling’s so-called Upper Post, taken between snowstorms.

Kate

Two versions of Detroit. One where buildings stand tall and proud, and one where they wilt under the sun. It’s an amazing juxtaposition.

Selby Tunnel Portal

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?

Elev. 1 in Lake Superior Fog

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.

Do The Nope

A self portrait on a tire swing outside the Service Building.

Jackson Residence

“Paint the fence,” they said, but I don’t feel like it… who cares, anyway.

The Chief Lady

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

Car Ears

Fall fog swept up from the river valley, making the building look more like it felt–a ghost, out of time and place.

Hike to Frontenac

The hiking around Central City is beautiful and full of history. Just get a proper topo map!

West Portal, July

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

Nurse’s Tree

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.

Erekt

The buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.

Nike Launch Pad

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.

School Ruins

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 Tower and the Town

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.

Fergus Falls State Hospital Roofline

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.

Pilothouse

The dredge is divided into four levels. The top level has controls for the tailings boom and, when it was there, the bucket excavator.

Fort Liege Sign

A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.

Abriss einer Stadt

Looking down Pommenicher Straße from Gaststätte Rosarius, the monstrous machine about to devour the town bites at the ground.

Torched Refrectory

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.

Glory Hole Mill Creek

A shallow creek traces Illinois Gulch toward the Chain O’ Mines mill. Ball mills are laid out in the sun.

Bricabrac

The bricks are decaying at different rates at this corner, making it especially colorful.

Prize Mine Powder Vault

A safe distance from Prize Mine is its dynamite storage vault, designed to explode up–not out–should the worst happen.

Singing Roundhouse

2013. A perfect summer day meets a beautiful old roundhouse on the edge of town.

Dock 5L

One of the covered rail loading docks. All of them were overgrown and rust-clad.

Front of the Adler

The trees were so overgrown, it was difficult to see the hotel at all from the road.

Colorful Night

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

Silos Like a Sunset

“Against the blue sky, its rusting central silos look like rising smoke meeting the last minutes of a sunset. These give way to a corrugated night sky of blue gray, punched-through with staggered four-pane windows, all glassless.”

Cradle and Tree

Gopher Ordnance Works, aka the U-Lands, is a landscape where roots and boughs break apart concrete and steel.

Back Gate (Film)

Scanned after being recovered from the bottom of an old wooden box for a few years. Circa 2005.

Film: Pozo Mine

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.

Profile – (C)SUBSTREET

Sunset came fast, and when the good light died inside the Industrial Loft, I walked around the back to find the whole complex glowing.

Miner’s Outhouse-(C)SUSBTREET.org

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!

Overgrown Spires

The back of the castle is barely visible through the trees that have grown thick around the walls, making it look so much older.

Ore Bucket on a Tram at Mayflower Mill

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.

Mountain Sunrise

Early bird catches the shadow of Battle Mountain blaring across the ghost town.

Cafeteria

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

English Garden

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 Animas River, near Mayflower Mill

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.

Front Porch

A multi-family home with an attic bedroom. The staircase was unstable, to say the least.

Gold Collar Mine

Below Grand Army Mine is Gold Collar. A ‘collar’ is the braced section around the portal of a mine shaft.

Hospital Portico

When it became “Hyde Park Hospital”, this portico was added onto the front.

Ruined Hoist

Steel mine hoists, near the place they worked, wait for scrap prices to justify their final removal from Osceola, Michigan.

Loading Dock

A truck loading dock for raw materials. Looking at the concrete, you can sort of tell where the rails used to run.

1952 Highrises

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.

Franz-Engels-Straße

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.

Jalopy and Contrails

The moon highlights the contrails over the engine house in the middle of the night. Foreground light painted.

Keeper’s Houses

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.

Tac Tripper

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!

Water Towers

SFAAP’s iconic smokestacks. You’d notice if you drove past this on the highway.

INAAP Power

Looking toward the power station at the edge of the explosives plant.

Stickfence

Typical New Mexico ranch fencing. The power lines follow the rails between Springer and Wagon Mound.

Mitchell Avenue of Mitchell, Minn.

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.

Spring Melt and Chutes

Wind took the spring melt on the trees growing in taconite pellets and made it airborne. Loading chutes in the background.

Hotel Wall

The inside of the hotel, as seen from inside its beer cave.

St. Louis River Valley

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.

Firing Range

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.

Shadows of Taconite Harbor on the James R. Barker

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.

Hoist House

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.

Powerlines

The power lines follow the street, down to the mineshaft. Everything revolved around the mine, it seemed.

Anon

Above the altar are faded murals. Here’s the Holy Grail.

Birch Takeover

Trees between duplexes overshadow the buildings they were planted to shield; revenge for the boards on the windows.

Workshop

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.

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.

Upholstered Glowstick

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.

Melhoir Ruins

Looking out of the biggest cave into the shell of the burned brewery, almost 125 years after it was destroyed by fire.

Above the Tunnel

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.

Testing Grounds

Ammunition had to be tested on site before shipment. That was done here. These heavy concrete bunkers deflected rounds harmlessly into the earth.

Pillsbury Tailrace

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.

Foot in the Door

A shuttered house at the end of the block doesn’t even have boards on it anymore.

Puffer by Bibio

The roof was in bad shape, but too beautiful to avoid. This is the spot were I used to study medieval Latin.

Hot Metal Railcar

A ‘Hot Metal Car’ that would transport molten steel across the ‘Hot Metal Bridge’ from the furnaces to the mills.

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.

Back Door

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.

King- Tarp of the Beast

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.

Rooftop Panorama

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.

Skyway

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.

Neighborhood Dump

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.

Bldg. B

I found a meth lab in this building once. (Yes, I called it in.)

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.

Bonded Warehouse Office

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.

Junction Box

Between all of the buildings was dense growth, especially vines.

Quencher

The quenching water was reused over and over.

Dock 2 Approach

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.

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