Dust explosions were a real risk for grain mills. These funnels helped to filter the air in the mill.
The sidewalks are littered with rocks.
This building looked like some sort of office.
The very top of the Administration Tower’s spiral staircase. There’s an old antenna of some kind there, as you can see.
You can almost make out the concrete chute through the open window. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
Steam pipes snake up the walls like vines, but with asbestos.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
The fences helped discourage patients from throwing themselves down the stairs.
Standing atop the dust collector, the factory breaks down into diverging patterns, processes.
The layout and design of the buildings reminded me strongly of a brewery or distillery. To the right you can see some of the retrofits by the first lumber company to buy the buildings, in the 1970s.
A broken scale in Isabella A, next to an old wood stove.
Looking out the second-floor lighthouse office window. On this visit, the last ice of the season was slowly drifting into the harbor.
They left and took their God with ’em. Doesn’t feel too empty without ‘im, though.
Between two brick buildings is a metal one with many windows set into it. Having been in many mills of similar design, I conjecture that this was the milling building, where machines ground the corn before it was boiled.
Note the maps still left on the wall.
The fresh snow makes the whole complex look a lot cleaner than it actually is.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
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 old men’s ward is an example of what the hospital resembled before part of the complex was modernized. Small rooms, light switches outside the door, small observation windows set into heavy wood. If you ask me, though, the tile work across the floors is the most spectacular.
The old mill (right) and power plant (left) with the new mill behind them.
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.
Different colors stained the small panes on the top floor. For once, it seemed more ridiculous to not be inside an abandoned factory.
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
When not running 24 hours a day during a campaign, the plant was being repaired. Every sugar mill has a large shop and parts room for those times.
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.
Connecting the Administration Building to the wards fanning out. Historical photos show cots lining this hallway when the hospital was severely overcrowded. Lit by lightning outside the grounds during a huge thunderstorm.
The State School stage, taken as it was getting scrapped.
On the top floor of one of the old wards, the slanted roofline makes the this group room more claustrophobic. Portra 160.
2005. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
The sexiest feature of Kurth is this steel arch over the silos on its south side. The manholes in the floor open to the silos directly, and flimsy grates might catch a hurried worker. Grates were removable so that workers could descend into the concrete tubes, so a few are missing today.
The coke plant looked more natural through a grimy window.
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 “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
Looking out of the American diesel crane at the gantry crane that ran the length of the dock.
I wonder when fluorescent lighting was added.
One of Martinsdale’s defunct businesses perpendicular to the depot. Recall that Martinsdale is a T-town.
A cloud moves across the attic in front of the window. How? A photographer’s secret.
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.
The barracks are being reclaimed by nature.
The powerhouse had two elevated tracks behind it, one for coal and one for deliveries.
West Elevation of the Depot. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
One of my favorite shots from that year, conveyor line parts stacked and hung with Postal Service bins from decades ago.
A closeup of a high window in Bunge.
In its last years, the church had a congregation of only about 100. It opened with 1.700…
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
These dump cars moved copper ore to the top of the furnaces… it’s about two stories above ground level.
Stairs and power lines enter the abandoned depot. Shingles slide off the rotten roof. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
The four buildings seen here comprise almost all of the notable remaining structures.
Not a part of the Foundry, but the Enclosed Body Building. The rebar welded over the windows and the rust patterns with the lighting makes this geometric photos one of my favorites from the year.
What time is it?
Looking into a common from the grounds. The block glass makes the interior seem dreamlike and distorted. Note the poor condition of the bricks around the window.
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.
The balcony used to be beautiful, you say. I say, it still is.
Small stained panes and orange brick. I had no idea when I took this picture that the colored glass would turn the insides of the mill into a bright aquamarine. It was a beautiful intersection of nature and industry, in the most unintended way.
The beacon was installed in 1938 and removed in the mid-2000s.
When you watch TV from the jars, it seems so much more real, they tell me.
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.
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.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
Frontenac’s shaft house is well preserved, compared to all other around it. Leica/Summilux 35/Ektar 100
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.
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.
Paperwork litters the floors of the zinc mine offices.
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!
The interior of one of the curved corridors that connect two wards. Note the original floor’s hand-laid tile pattern. Portra 160.
A bedroom, from the basement. The Dog Days are Over.
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
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!
This is one of the more private rooms in the old section of the hospital. It likely only accommodated one patient.
An old name for an older elevator, as seen from an abandoned rail spur.
From atop a concrete slap that seals the old path of Mine Shaft #3, I loop up into the hoisting room.
One of the ugly modern staircases.
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.
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
It’s a small world… look at it.
I really like the way this high-ceilinged room is decaying. Well, decayed. It’s demolished now.
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
The engine room.
This is what the complex looks like today to the bare eye. Dull, monochrome, quiet.
In the ward for the criminally insane, this door was the most-worn. Nail scratches mark the area around the peep hole, the wood is gouged everywhere from thrown chairs and hard kicks, and a ominous blood-colored stain is visible where it dripped in the second inset from the bottom. Aside from the damage, the coloring in this section was very vibrant, though it was probably little reprieve for those who had to work here.
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.
Taken while standing on the torn outline of a scrapped altar. With my back to the faded outlines of men, books and the Holy Grail, the room seems much lighter.
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.
Shadows of the trees from the materials yard.
Looking toward Mitchell from its last building.
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.
Everyone loves water towers.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
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.
Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.
The turbine hall sported a beautiful Whiting gantry crane.
The roof has been replaced since this was taken. Hopefully, that will stem the water damage.
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.
The exterior of one of the administrative wings.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
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.
This is where the transformers were housed. Note the steel tracks in the floor for moving equipment around the building.
One of the few windows that escaped steel plating the last time the hospital was sealed tight to let nature roam within.
After a little rain, the roof took on the color of the bright pink letters.
The company labs. If you can believe it, this area is even more destroyed today.
The corner of Clyde on Michigan Street looked like it had been sealed a long time.
A side door on the rear of the castle that let guests out into a small stone courtyard below a tall turret.
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.
A back-lit tree with the silhouette of a roof spire in the background.
I can confirm the existence of the long-rumored Federal Rectangle Research Institute labs.
Catwalk crating, welded over the yard crane operator cab’s windows.
A staircase threads between the top floor and the sluices, which are in the middle of the dredge-mill.
A walk-up service window on the side of an administration building of some sort. I have a feeling the buildings were color coded.
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.
Looking at the boarded exterior of the newer area of the orphanage from its 1914 section.
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.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
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.
The front of the Art Deco hospital, complete with Art Deco gears and Crosses of Loraine!
The old offices for the Oberon Elevator are defunct, but seem to be holding up to the brutal prairie snows and winds. Medium Format.
Peering into a remote office at Manitoba Wheat Pool #3. Someone left their to-do list behind.
This bay would host boxcars as workers would fill them with the fruits of the factory.
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.
The stone chapel sits beside the main house and received a particularly heavy dose of gothic architectural touches.
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.
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.
Looking through the old brewhouse toward the Keg Wash House.
The grand staircase with little balconies leaning over it. All the stone stairs are broken and graffiti marks every wall.
Ultimately, it was the bad roof that doomed these buildings.
Found in one of the rooms that hosted an inpatient chemical dependency unit in its later years. Connect the dots yourself.
A screened water wheel, presumably for rotating the dredge once it lowered its “foot” to pivot in place.
Since this picture was taken, the roof has totally collapsed in this area.
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.
Fire doors separate the buildings.
A shuttered house at the end of the block doesn’t even have boards on it anymore.
A different kind of tree fort.
The Sun Rooms, or Common Rooms, reminded me of the Panopitcon turned inside-out.
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.
Germany’s steel mill city.
Outside the Chateau, where the fuel oil tank blocks the chapel.
The north side of the plant is modern 60s industrial architecture, meaning massive open spaces with no personality. This mirror is the most interesting thing I could find.
Archeologists believe the great house on the mesa was rebuilt shortly before it was abandoned in the 13th Century AD. Tri-X 400 Film, haphazardly self developed.
A closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.
Looking past the hoist room (left) toward Shaft No. 1, behind the concrete head frame built in the late 1940s. This shaft could haul equipment from ground level (below) to shop level, where the picture was taken.
The front of the power plant (right), the distillery itself (center), and the regaling house (left).
The backdrop has become the pallet for water damage and graffiti.
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 breeze and broken window has animated one of the few curtains still hanging in Nopeming as of 2015.
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.
The headquarters for the plant was in the middle of it. It’s abandoned but well preserved–a strange sight in Gary, Indiana.
One of the walls of the train shed was growing, thanks to a little bit of sunlight and a constant trickle of rainwater over it. FP-100C.
This side of the mill, which abuts the Great Miami River, is much older than the other side of B Street. You can tell it went through many revisions.
The skylights with geared-to-open windows were massive and quite functional.
Energy conserving window plastic does no good when the doors are all open and the heat’s off.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
This roof hasn’t budged under the weight of snow, instead it just filters-through the light onto the floor.
An insurance office.
Another perfect Indianan sunset alights like a bird on the tops of the vent houses and tree-packed smokestacks.
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.
“Paint the fence,” they said, but I don’t feel like it… who cares, anyway.
Mill Hell before the University of Minnesota began developing the area. Now many of the buildings are gone, there are new roads and even bike paths.
The man behind the curtain watches, but doesn’t say anything. Probably the smartest one in the room.
The power gauge showed… broken.
Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.
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.
The copula where molten metal would pour is on the left. It seems the whole floor was covered in ash in front of it.
A self portrait, from the early 2000s.
Looking from the rail shipping building through pigeon-proofing chicken wire at another manufacturing building in high Fall.
Sluice tables stretch into the darkness.
The conveyorway that carried the sintering material to the mixing floor at the top of the plant.
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.
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.
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.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
A white star marks the landing between the Keeper’s Quarters (Second Floor) and the radiobeacon and furnace rooms (First Floor).
The sun unzipped the clouds. Mist blew across the harbor.
Looking up to the second floor of the Nitrating House, where cotton would be soaked in nitric acid. These brought cotton into the building.
Looking above the altar.
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.
As if they were planning to move the furniture out of the hospital, it all sits in the main hallway in the ground floor.
Looking through Workhouse A from the top of a silo.
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.
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 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.
The top of the giant arched windows facing the Mississippi and the swing bridge.
The arches of the Twohy building, before some of the signs and sills were painted in 2015.
Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.
The workshop and parts room was full of light and meticulously sorted bolts, nuts, washers, gaskets, and all sorts of specialty hardware.
A colorful makeshift wall.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
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.
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.
A better view of the belt system that drives all the machinery in the plant.
Looking toward the Female Infirmary Ward from the long, glass, Conservatory hallway.
This dirt-brick building hasn’t fared well.
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.
A crack in a window in a wall. What’s this doing here?
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.
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?
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
Heavy industrial looks good in cotton candy pink.
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.
This building was responsible for storing and drying the barrels. Compare right.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.