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
Looking toward Mitchell from its last building.
Algae grows where water flows/From the sawtooth roof/To the mines below/The sun climbs high/But is in no one’s eyes/A wall alone crumbles/It was no suprise
The sun shining through one of the buildings; everything was overgrown.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
“See anything?” “No, just more of it.” “How much to go?” “Oh god–we’ve only seen about 10%.” “Guess we should keep moving then…”
A self portrait, from the early 2000s.
The wings of the church had a lot more water damage than the rest. The organ on the balcony was in decent condition when I arrived.
A view from the loft in the shipping/receiving building, where the crane operator would step into his cab.
A breeze and broken window has animated one of the few curtains still hanging in Nopeming as of 2015.
Looking out the second-floor lighthouse office window. On this visit, the last ice of the season was slowly drifting into the harbor.
The Barker turning around before it backed into Tac Harbor to unload coal for Minnesota Power.
Looking out of a door to nowhere at the fiery sky above.
The conveyorway that carried the sintering material to the mixing floor at the top of the plant.
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.
Ultimately, it was the bad roof that doomed these buildings.
From Main Street, looking straight up at the A Mill, only the silence makes one think that nobody’s still inside, grinding grain into Pillsbury’s Best.
Looking through a secure ward door at the destroyed rooms beyond.
This section of the production floor was constantly dripping. Someone had laid down giant plastic sheeting to attempt to protect the lower floors, but it hasn’t worked.
A familiar scene in Control Tower B, though the microphone has not been used for years.
This room on the top floor of one of the oldest buildings has seemingly not changed since it was adapted for employee use. Some sections of the hospital were adapted for staff to live in. Paying Patient Ward–where capable patients were separated from wards of the state.
This is one of the modern nurse’s stations where the last inpatients lived in the mid-2000s. The windows are thick shatterproof plastic. I am unsure why the suspended ceiling is missing.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
“Paint the fence,” they said, but I don’t feel like it… who cares, anyway.
It’s almost hard to tell whether the colors come from oil in the water or the colorful glass lit up by the Michigan sunset.
The fences helped discourage patients from throwing themselves down the stairs.
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
What time is it?
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.
A screened water wheel, presumably for rotating the dredge once it lowered its “foot” to pivot in place.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.
The roof has been replaced since this was taken. Hopefully, that will stem the water damage.
Looking above the altar.
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.
The fresh snow makes the whole complex look a lot cleaner than it actually is.
The sidewalks are littered with rocks.
A different kind of tree fort.
The service window in the Administration Tower had seen some abuse, even if it wasn’t so old.
Part of the Laundry Building with an ugly archway between rooms. Note that even this building had a nurse’s station with shatterproof windows. Laundry was done by supervised patients as part of their Occupational Therapy and the staff took no chances.
Call me angsty, but I like it. Found in the Auxiliary Hospital.
This is where the transformers were housed. Note the steel tracks in the floor for moving equipment around the building.
In the power house corner is this gratuitously gigantic doorway. It used to be even bigger, too, as indicated by the brick arch another foot over the top windows.
The stonework was done by a local handyman of sorts, who was also a guard at a nearby insane asylum. He did a great job, it seems to me.
The power gauge showed… broken.
The gothic landing between balcony and classroom level and the ground floor.
Catwalk crating, welded over the yard crane operator cab’s windows.
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.
An observation room, possibly for children, has drapes around a 2-way mirror. You know, to dress up the fact that someone could be watching anonymously on the other side.
Negative twenty looks much warmer in retrospect, wouldn’t you say? Taken through the window of a gantry crane cab.
The man behind the curtain watches, but doesn’t say anything. Probably the smartest one in the room.
A cloud moves across the attic in front of the window. How? A photographer’s secret.
On the Turbine Room floor, one old steam pump still remains, ready to pressurize steam pipes with the hot stuff throughout the car shops and boilers.
A typical room in the barracks, reinforced from mortars and light shelling, possibly.
When block glass shatters, it looks like ice.
The organ and bits of glass that have lost their way. Try not to see the upside-down wooden cross dangling from the stained-glass-crown on the church’s front side. Of course, it’s to keep the loose panes from falling out onto the road in wind, but at the same time…
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.
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
A 1960s style TV set in a sun room at the back of the poor house. The concrete room survived the roof collapse and was full of rotten children’s books and toys. Perhaps it was where donations were sorted, or perhaps it was a nursery/orphanage area.
The engine room.
The sun was setting outside, highlighting the textures and lines that made the form of the power plant take a fourth dimension–time.
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.
In this ghost town where there were brick, wooden, and dirt-brick buildings, the latter fared the best by far.
The top of the giant arched windows facing the Mississippi and the swing bridge.
“It must have been beautiful once.” “Yeah, especially in the winter.”
The coke plant looked more natural through a grimy window.
A better view of the belt system that drives all the machinery in the plant.
The old mill (right) and power plant (left) with the new mill behind them.
The Sun Rooms, or Common Rooms, reminded me of the Panopitcon turned inside-out.
Fluorescent lights peel back from the walls like caterpillars, rearing up and away from the glare of the sunflower-fans.
The sun unzipped the clouds. Mist blew across the harbor.
The four buildings seen here comprise almost all of the notable remaining structures.
Like looking out of an airship.
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.
The trees were so overgrown, it was difficult to see the hotel at all from the road.
In the middle of the foundry, an office is untouched by scrappers, legal and not. Inside, warnings and catalogs for machines that are gone, obsolete, and melted down.
One of the few windows that escaped steel plating the last time the hospital was sealed tight to let nature roam within.
Looking from one workhouse at another, with the other residents of Mill Hell falling into place as the distance grows. Across the rail yard you can see Froedert Malt elevator and Calumet.
When I looked out of the old mill, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was holding it all up.
Peering through the glass in the Hoist Operator’s cab, stained with graffiti. The cable and reels can be seen through the glass… these are now gone.
Stairs and power lines enter the abandoned depot. Shingles slide off the rotten roof. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
The beacon was installed in 1938 and removed in the mid-2000s.
Looking through the hole where a glass pane once was at the Columbus Mine ruins, just south of Animas Forks. It was quiet when I took the picture, but for the gurgle of the nearby Animas River.
An interesting crane in the back of the machine shop. It seems very light duty, so I am not certain what it was used for.
Windows provided the 250-some workers with fresh air and light, and helped to keep flour dust from building up in the air, helping to prevent explosions. Today, machines control air flow better without windows, so they were bricked.
The turbine hall sported a beautiful Whiting gantry crane.
A string of vehicles have found death at Packard recently. Usually they are simply driving up ramps and pushed off the rooftops, but this one seemed destined for a worse fate. Found in the far corner of the far building.
Looking through the old brewhouse toward the Keg Wash House.
Looking out of the American diesel crane at the gantry crane that ran the length of the dock.
This part of the roundhouse was being brought down by rain and gravity.
Energy conserving window plastic does no good when the doors are all open and the heat’s off.
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.
I can confirm the existence of the long-rumored Federal Rectangle Research Institute labs.
The buildings were level with one another, so one could look through as many as a dozen factory floors from one window.
Different colors stained the small panes on the top floor. For once, it seemed more ridiculous to not be inside an abandoned factory.
An old name for an older elevator, as seen from an abandoned rail spur.
While squatting in the power plant a very powerful storm moved over unforgettable, throwing blasts of lightning across the countryside. The plant got a direct hit, in fact, and the sound of the boom reverberating through the turbine hall is something unforgettable.
A volcano (?) under a window.
The workshop and parts room was full of light and meticulously sorted bolts, nuts, washers, gaskets, and all sorts of specialty hardware.
There were a few large houses on the Old Crow property where employees would live. The glen had little housing.
The screen and mineral stained window cross-processed the sky.
I really like the way this high-ceilinged room is decaying. Well, decayed. It’s demolished now.
At sunset the light skips from puddle to stagnant puddle across the whole foundry room, playing with the classic sawtooth roof with half-hearted shadows.
This dirt-brick building hasn’t fared well.
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!
The bottom area of the smokestacks house storage spaces. The windows of these rooms that were never completed line up perfect.
Looking down at the Port Arthur Ore Dock from Manitoba Pool Elevator #3. The conveyor belts are gone and King Elevator is in the far distance.
Looking from the rail shipping building through pigeon-proofing chicken wire at another manufacturing building in high Fall.
In the middle of one of the outlying cottages, perhaps the Masonic Cottage–it was too damaged to tell, really–are these pair of skinny doors that led from patient rooms to a common area with rotting shag carpet.
In an old ward, two men would have shared this room.
This roof hasn’t budged under the weight of snow, instead it just filters-through the light onto the floor.
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.
Watching the comings and goings of doctors, nurses and new patients was a mainstay of asylum routine; one can find it easy to imagine pale faces pressed against the block glass windows, staring out at the world moving past them.
A closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.
The Osborne Mercantile reflected in Twohy Mercantile’s eastern windows, minutes before subset. The current owner has done a fair job replacing broken windows with plexiglass to keep the elements out.
In the distance, the San Haven Sanatorium water tower.
A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.
A skyway 100 feet above this office crumbled one day. This is what happened when those two met. High-impact love.
The world’s biggest paper machine was installed here about a century before this photo was taken. The orange in the windows is the brick building across the street–the new part of the plant.
One of the only extant assembly line tracks in the body painting department. No photographer leaves Fisher 21 without capturing some version of this spot; hope you like mine.
Since this picture was taken, the roof has totally collapsed in this area.
Some of the rotting clothes were in boxes, split long ago from moisture. Others were just heaped in piles.
A long exposure in the crane cab at sunset throws a bit of color into the bleak yellow glows between the windows and car shaker.
In most places, it may seem off for there to be a tunnel door on the top floor of a building, but Ford was that kind of place. This door from the steam plant led into a skyway and tunnel that connected to the main assembly floor.
This wide skyway connected two of the inner factory buildings, where parts would have to be transported to keep the operation moving, which is why it is much wider than other bridges in the plant.
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
I had to search the shelves a while to find this old logbook. The open page lists changes in stock numbers for Cutler Hammer Coils, and one row says that a new coil was installed on the black larry. The larry is the machine that loads coke ovens.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
The front of the power plant (right), the distillery itself (center), and the regaling house (left).
The front of the Art Deco hospital, complete with Art Deco gears and Crosses of Loraine!
A closeup of a high window in Bunge.
This building looked like some sort of office.
I wonder when fluorescent lighting was added.
Shadows of the trees from the materials yard.
A white star marks the landing between the Keeper’s Quarters (Second Floor) and the radiobeacon and furnace rooms (First Floor).
Steam pipes snake up the walls like vines, but with asbestos.
After a little rain, the roof took on the color of the bright pink letters.
As if they were planning to move the furniture out of the hospital, it all sits in the main hallway in the ground floor.
On the top floor of one of the old wards, the slanted roofline makes the this group room more claustrophobic. Portra 160.
The view from the larry, looking out at the overgrowing coke oven top. Papers listed the order of the charges for each oven, noting the sticky doors and persistent leaks. Emergency respirators and rescue gear was stored close, as long exposure to emissions from the rusty hatches could make worker pass out on the top of the ovens.
The side of the oldest building on the property, the former casket factory.
One of the generators, weeks before it was taken apart to be shipped to another power plant somewhere else.
Outside the Chateau, where the fuel oil tank blocks the chapel.
The power lines follow the street, down to the mineshaft. Everything revolved around the mine, it seemed.
These were some of the most attractive shops of all the mines in the area. It’s no wonder Hanna Mining wanted to use them as their center of operations in the Iron River district.
Looking out of the labs at the company garages.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
Looking through Workhouse A from the top of a silo.
One of the pair of motors that powered this mine shaft. In the 1950s, this shaft was designated a rescue shaft, and was only maintained for emergencies. One reason that Cheratte built Shaft 3 nearby was because these motors and infrastructure did not have the capacity that the giant mine below called for.
Paperwork litters the floors of the zinc mine offices.
The south wall of the power plant. Its sheet metal skin couldn’t fit around the structure, it seems… note the very strange protruding superstructure.
In what Studebaker called the ‘Materials Building’ are these giant concrete bins of fine molding sand, there for casting metal parts using the molten metal from the adjoining building. On the far left side there is a train track and once upon a time a gantry crane traced the room under the roof
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
The interior of one of the curved corridors that connect two wards. Note the original floor’s hand-laid tile pattern. Portra 160.
A circular common room in one of the original parts of the hospital. When the asylum was especially crowded, this would be filled with patient beds, too. It’s very strange that this floor was not tiled like the other common rooms. It makes me wonder if especially dangerous patients were kept in this ward; those who could not be trusted to not extract and sharpen the ceramic tiles. Portra 160.
The main shaft’s cable spooled with bird castings belies the fact that lives used to dangle from its steel-wound strength. Arrows on the circles would indicate the mine level the cars were currently at.
Standing atop the dust collector, the factory breaks down into diverging patterns, processes.
The old hotel doesn’t like to show its age. Indeed, if it had a few paint job and soft remodel it would be fit to open–that is, if there was a need for it in this tiny rural New York town.
Looking into the engine works from the concrete addition.
One of my favorite shots of the headhouse at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool #4, with one seagull threading the needle. The socket holes on the frame got blown out thanks to my bad developing, but I like the effect. Arista 100.
Taken on a short trip where the whole floor of the roundhouse and engine shop was covered in fresh snow–thanks to the holes in the roof and open windows.
Copper poured from this furnace and was cast by the autocaster on the right into billets.
Note the maps still left on the wall.
Sheet metal over the windows. A red boot sole in the tumbleweeds. Is it inside, or outside?
A bedroom, from the basement. The Dog Days are Over.
The office was redder than the rest of the building.
A crack in a window in a wall. What’s this doing here?
A side door on the rear of the castle that let guests out into a small stone courtyard below a tall turret.
It’s a small world… look at it.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
The east side of the boiler shop sported a platform with a control booth and heavy machine mounts. Note the door that replaces the lower section of stairs for explorers.
The copula where molten metal would pour is on the left. It seems the whole floor was covered in ash in front of it.
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.
Looking toward a void–formerly a hallway to the mineshaft–now a hole in the ground.
The mostly-empty distilling room is easy to spot from the outside because of the distinctive round window.
The backdrop has become the pallet for water damage and graffiti.
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.
This bay would host boxcars as workers would fill them with the fruits of the factory.
They left and took their God with ’em. Doesn’t feel too empty without ‘im, though.
A bleak double room in what used to be the Receiving Hospital, built apart from the Kirkbride to observe incoming patients before they were placed in a ward.
John’s wife’s face.
The common rooms bulge out of the institutional geometry of the wards.
The exterior of one of the administrative wings.
The old offices for the Oberon Elevator are defunct, but seem to be holding up to the brutal prairie snows and winds. Medium Format.
Everyone loves water towers.
The old boilers of the steam plant have been mostly gutted to remove loose asbestos.
A back-lit tree with the silhouette of a roof spire in the background.
I like this picture because it shows some of the only unbroken windows at Packard.
In some places in the mine shops, you can still make out narrow gauge track in the floors.
This is a room where the actual explosive elements were mixed. In the event of an accident, this glass wall would give way before the concrete and thus direct the flames and shockwave away from the rest of the building. In other words, the glass is not just to get a lot of wonderful natural light into the building.
Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.
I am not sure what caused the discoloration, but two of the walls near the door to the machine shop are stained yellow-red. I assume this had to do with the walls in relation to blowing piles of iron ore, and that the walls have been partly infused with iron oxide. Any other ideas?
This building was responsible for storing and drying the barrels. Compare right.
A window for light and air pokes above the big arch in the hallway. Most of the interior ceilings were broad brick archways.
One of two control towers that reached over the lake. The control panel here was used to move the conveyors over the ship’s hold doors, adjust flow of the taconite, and so on.
In a now-demolished building, a skylight begins to separate.
Looking from the powerhouse across to the old Electrical Assembly side of the plant that manufactured products like thermostats. Most of the complex is connected by skyway and tunnel systems.
These long curved corridors connected the wards. Locked doors on both of their ends were a security and comfort feature. Sounds and people would be sealed in their respective wards, as the hallways would act like beautiful airlocks; they were so long that it was unlikely that doors would be open on both sides at the same time. Portra 160.
Above the offices is this little section of factory that still has strips of wood flooring. This may be where the upholstery was cut.