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
Peering into a remote office at Manitoba Wheat Pool #3. Someone left their to-do list behind.
The Clipper was one of the most popular Packards, but its production was cut short by WWII. Had they produced the car instead of Rolls Royce plane engines I imagine there would might be driving a Packard today, rather than a Ford.
A broken scale in Isabella A, next to an old wood stove.
One of the generators, weeks before it was taken apart to be shipped to another power plant somewhere else.
The workshop and parts room was full of light and meticulously sorted bolts, nuts, washers, gaskets, and all sorts of specialty hardware.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
The man behind the curtain watches, but doesn’t say anything. Probably the smartest one in the room.
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.
Like looking out of an airship.
The exterior of one of the administrative wings.
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.
These stairs connected some small main-level offices with one of the main sewing rooms above. Because the roof on this building was strong, it was pretty well preserved–look at those colors. Through the open fire door on the left, though, you can see that the roof has given out.
This is one of the more private rooms in the old section of the hospital. It likely only accommodated one patient.
You can almost make out the concrete chute through the open window. Kodak Portra 160/Mamiya 6.
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.
The sidewalks are littered with rocks.
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.
A colorful makeshift wall.
I wonder when fluorescent lighting was added.
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…
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.
Some of the rotting clothes were in boxes, split long ago from moisture. Others were just heaped in piles.
Heavy industrial looks good in cotton candy pink.
Stairs and power lines enter the abandoned depot. Shingles slide off the rotten roof. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
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 trees were so overgrown, it was difficult to see the hotel at all from the road.
Ultimately, it was the bad roof that doomed these buildings.
Energy conserving window plastic does no good when the doors are all open and the heat’s off.
“Paint the fence,” they said, but I don’t feel like it… who cares, anyway.
Looking up to the second floor of the Nitrating House, where cotton would be soaked in nitric acid. These brought cotton into the building.
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
This is one of my favorite doorways (yes, I have favorites) for a few reasons: 1.) You can see how the once-arched door has been squared-off for rectangular doors to fit; 2.) you can see one complete historic door and one ruined door, and the chain that used to hold them together before someone kicked-out the security, and; 3.) I like the texture of the bricks and design of the radiators in the room beyond–the blacksmith shop. Just do.
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.
Wide stairs between the ground, the mine shaft, and the dry house.
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.
A skyway 100 feet above this office crumbled one day. This is what happened when those two met. High-impact love.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
I can confirm the existence of the long-rumored Federal Rectangle Research Institute labs.
An insurance office.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
I love the big old industrial windows.
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.
West Elevation of the Depot. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
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.
This building was responsible for storing and drying the barrels. Compare right.
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.
In an old ward, two men would have shared this room.
Shadows of the trees from the materials yard.
A closeup of a high window in Bunge.
Note the maps still left on the wall.
The turbine hall sported a beautiful Whiting gantry crane.
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.
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
The side of the oldest building on the property, the former casket factory.
A walk-up service window on the side of an administration building of some sort. I have a feeling the buildings were color coded.
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.
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.
Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.
It’s a small world… look at it.
The screen and mineral stained window cross-processed the sky.
The bottom area of the smokestacks house storage spaces. The windows of these rooms that were never completed line up perfect.
The Sun Rooms, or Common Rooms, reminded me of the Panopitcon turned inside-out.
As if they were planning to move the furniture out of the hospital, it all sits in the main hallway in the ground floor.
I revisited the mill years after my documentary. Now it is even more destroyed and surrounded by new fences.
The Barker turning around before it backed into Tac Harbor to unload coal for Minnesota Power.
The old offices for the Oberon Elevator are defunct, but seem to be holding up to the brutal prairie snows and winds. Medium Format.
The arches of the Twohy building, before some of the signs and sills were painted in 2015.
A volcano (?) under a window.
In the distance, the San Haven Sanatorium water tower.
The sun was setting outside, highlighting the textures and lines that made the form of the power plant take a fourth dimension–time.
One of the few windows that escaped steel plating the last time the hospital was sealed tight to let nature roam within.
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.
A crack in a window in a wall. What’s this doing here?
On the top floor of one of the old wards, the slanted roofline makes the this group room more claustrophobic. Portra 160.
A breeze and broken window has animated one of the few curtains still hanging in Nopeming as of 2015.
The building on the right was where parts not assembled onto vehicles would be set in crates for shipment.
I like this picture because it shows some of the only unbroken windows at Packard.
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.
In this ghost town where there were brick, wooden, and dirt-brick buildings, the latter fared the best by far.
This seemed to be the newest building on the property.
Shuttered windows on the side of one of the collapsing bonded warehouses.
This part of the roundhouse was being brought down by rain and gravity.
The State School stage, taken as it was getting scrapped.
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
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.
Dust explosions were a real risk for grain mills. These funnels helped to filter the air in the mill.
Different colors stained the small panes on the top floor. For once, it seemed more ridiculous to not be inside an abandoned factory.
This dirt-brick building hasn’t fared well.
Sheet metal over the windows. A red boot sole in the tumbleweeds. Is it inside, or outside?
One of the ugly modern staircases.
A control panel that was mothballed, anticipating a time when the plant may be reactivated.
The old boilers of the steam plant have been mostly gutted to remove loose asbestos.
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.
When block glass shatters, it looks like ice.
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.
The powerhouse had two elevated tracks behind it, one for coal and one for deliveries.
A familiar scene in Control Tower B, though the microphone has not been used for years.
The gothic landing between balcony and classroom level and the ground floor.
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.
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 from the shaft room into the room where an electric hoist would be.
The machine shop today.
Paperwork litters the floors of the zinc mine offices.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
The corner of Clyde on Michigan Street looked like it had been sealed a long time.
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.
Frontenac’s shaft house is well preserved, compared to all other around it. Leica/Summilux 35/Ektar 100
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.
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.
Much of the circa-1950s buildings remain with few alterations, such as these long boring sheet metal ruststicks.
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.
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 very top of the Administration Tower’s spiral staircase. There’s an old antenna of some kind there, as you can see.
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.
This building looked like some sort of office.
Looking through Workhouse A from the top of a silo.
…somebody get the number of that truck! Near the Day Rooms in the Paying Patient ward.
2005. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
When you watch TV from the jars, it seems so much more real, they tell me.
Another perfect Indianan sunset alights like a bird on the tops of the vent houses and tree-packed smokestacks.
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.
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.
The mostly-empty distilling room is easy to spot from the outside because of the distinctive round window.
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 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 office was redder than the rest of the building.
A tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
The clock, which was sold after Amtrak dumped the building, was returned to the Waiting Room in 2005.
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.
They left and took their God with ’em. Doesn’t feel too empty without ‘im, though.
When I looked out of the old mill, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was holding it all up.
The four buildings seen here comprise almost all of the notable remaining structures.
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.
The old mill (right) and power plant (left) with the new mill behind them.
The power gauge showed… broken.
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.
This roof hasn’t budged under the weight of snow, instead it just filters-through the light onto the floor.
I really like the way this high-ceilinged room is decaying. Well, decayed. It’s demolished now.
Looking into the engine works from the concrete addition.
A self portrait, from the early 2000s.
The coke plant looked more natural through a grimy window.
Looking through the old brewhouse toward the Keg Wash House.
In the barracks.
After a little rain, the roof took on the color of the bright pink letters.
Judging by the bed, this room was used by employees in its later years.
Fire doors separate the buildings.
This bay would host boxcars as workers would fill them with the fruits of the factory.
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.
The barracks are being reclaimed by nature.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
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.
“It must have been beautiful once.” “Yeah, especially in the winter.”
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.
Inside the MLK High School chemistry laboratory.
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.
Standing atop the dust collector, the factory breaks down into diverging patterns, processes.
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.
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 shuttered house at the end of the block doesn’t even have boards on it anymore.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
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.
From atop a concrete slap that seals the old path of Mine Shaft #3, I loop up into the hoisting room.
The skylights with geared-to-open windows were massive and quite functional.
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 room’s trim was unlike the others. Perhaps it was for a live in supervisor.
Above the offices is this little section of factory that still has strips of wood flooring. This may be where the upholstery was cut.
A pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
The fresh snow makes the whole complex look a lot cleaner than it actually is.
The grand staircase with little balconies leaning over it. All the stone stairs are broken and graffiti marks every wall.
These dump cars moved copper ore to the top of the furnaces… it’s about two stories above ground level.
Looking toward the Female Infirmary Ward from the long, glass, Conservatory hallway.
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
In some places in the mine shops, you can still make out narrow gauge track in the floors.
The power lines follow the street, down to the mineshaft. Everything revolved around the mine, it seemed.
The engine room.
The office building was fancy compared to the utilitarian factory behind it. My favorite part was the logo crown.
Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.
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.
Looking out of the American diesel crane at the gantry crane that ran the length of the dock.
The walls are separating on the adobe house…
One of Martinsdale’s defunct businesses perpendicular to the depot. Recall that Martinsdale is a T-town.
A different kind of tree fort.
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
A back-lit tree with the silhouette of a roof spire in the background.
Looking toward Mitchell from its last building.
Grimy windows and the other half of the complex trade interests and stares.
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 front of the power plant (right), the distillery itself (center), and the regaling house (left).
The service window in the Administration Tower had seen some abuse, even if it wasn’t so old.
Looking out of the labs at the company garages.
A small machine shop level.
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.
Looking out the second-floor lighthouse office window. On this visit, the last ice of the season was slowly drifting into the harbor.
The fences helped discourage patients from throwing themselves down the stairs.
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 bedroom, from the basement. The Dog Days are Over.
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.