In this ghost town where there were brick, wooden, and dirt-brick buildings, the latter fared the best by far.
Because Oshkosh is close to Green Bay, the Packers are very popular there. Everywhere in the plant there were traces of ‘Cheese Head’ culture.
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 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 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.
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.
Inside the main entrance to the depot. Through the ‘To Station’ door, you can see some of the news stands. Look at the floor!
A bunk room, minus the bunks.
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 tower above Minneapolis that few people see.
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.
A colorful makeshift wall.
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.
Tarpaper telling time-
Wood wittling weather-
Rust rot ruins.
Noontime light, long criticized for the boring shadows it grants photographers, comes into its own sometimes.
In the modern control room at the base of the white elevator tower are the electronics that ran the newer building, its rail components and boat-loading component. The superstructure permeates all spaces here, as can be seen with the crossing I-beams in the main office.
The front of the Art Deco hospital, complete with Art Deco gears and Crosses of Loraine!
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…
Looking out of the American diesel crane at the gantry crane that ran the length of the dock.
Looking out of the labs at the company garages.
Looking out the second-floor lighthouse office window. On this visit, the last ice of the season was slowly drifting into the harbor.
I can confirm the existence of the long-rumored Federal Rectangle Research Institute labs.
Above my head while taking this picture was the seal of the Department of the Interior.
This seemed to be the newest building on the property.
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 bottom area of the smokestacks house storage spaces. The windows of these rooms that were never completed line up perfect.
The sun shining through one of the buildings; everything was overgrown.
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.
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.
A shuttered house at the end of the block doesn’t even have boards on it anymore.
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.
On the top floor of one of the old wards, the slanted roofline makes the this group room more claustrophobic. Portra 160.
Looking through the old brewhouse toward the Keg Wash House.
Looking from the rail shipping building through pigeon-proofing chicken wire at another manufacturing building in high Fall.
A closeup of a high window in Bunge.
A self portrait, from the early 2000s.
A bedroom, from the basement. The Dog Days are Over.
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.
Looking up at the most conspicuous graffiti in the city on ADM #4.
A familiar scene in Control Tower B, though the microphone has not been used for years.
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
The side of the oldest building on the property, the former casket factory.
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.
2005. A skyway connecting two Which tube carried the beer? I hope it’s the big one!
“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 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 Sun Rooms, or Common Rooms, reminded me of the Panopitcon turned inside-out.
A window for light and air pokes above the big arch in the hallway. Most of the interior ceilings were broad brick archways.
“Paint the fence,” they said, but I don’t feel like it… who cares, anyway.
It’s a small world… look at it.
In this old repair shop, vines fall from the rotting roof to meet mossy concrete. Even though it had been dry for days, water dripped in from the roof to make permanent puddles between workstations. It was full of color and sound and industry and nature.
A steel powder keg serves as a door prop on the static-proof wood core floor. Note the ‘XXX’ marking to the left of the double door.
I love the big old industrial windows.
In the distance, the San Haven Sanatorium water tower.
One of my favorite shots from that year, conveyor line parts stacked and hung with Postal Service bins from decades ago.
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.
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 really like the way this high-ceilinged room is decaying. Well, decayed. It’s demolished now.
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 white star marks the landing between the Keeper’s Quarters (Second Floor) and the radiobeacon and furnace rooms (First Floor).
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.
Beside the shaft building are two fans on skids, indicating they were used underground.
Even without the kettles the Hamm’s brewhouse is beautifully lit, ornamented architecturally and begging for photographers to remember it.
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 up to the second floor of the Nitrating House, where cotton would be soaked in nitric acid. These brought cotton into the building.
The fresh snow makes the whole complex look a lot cleaner than it actually is.
Outside the Chateau, where the fuel oil tank blocks the chapel.
They left and took their God with ’em. Doesn’t feel too empty without ‘im, though.
A better view of the belt system that drives all the machinery in the plant.
Some of the rotting clothes were in boxes, split long ago from moisture. Others were just heaped in piles.
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.
One of my favorite visual feature of grain elevators, especially big ones, is how they repeat.
Looking toward a void–formerly a hallway to the mineshaft–now a hole in the ground.
This “pit” would allow workers to crawl below locomotives to service them.
A closeup of one of the winding machines that found itself under a leaky section of roof.
The backdrop has become the pallet for water damage and graffiti.
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.
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.
Birch shadows on stone walls… have you been looking at my Christmas list?
I wonder when fluorescent lighting was added.
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.
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?
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.
The workshop and parts room was full of light and meticulously sorted bolts, nuts, washers, gaskets, and all sorts of specialty hardware.
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.
Looking through a secure ward door at the destroyed rooms beyond.
The front of the power plant (right), the distillery itself (center), and the regaling house (left).
When I looked out of the old mill, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was holding it all up.
The skylights with geared-to-open windows were massive and quite functional.
Grimy windows and the other half of the complex trade interests and stares.
The sidewalks are littered with rocks.
A volcano (?) under a window.
The old mill (right) and power plant (left) with the new mill behind them.
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.
After a little rain, the roof took on the color of the bright pink letters.
The sun unzipped the clouds. Mist blew across the harbor.
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
This little curled yellow thing is one of the last hints that this adobe building was lived in.
This building was responsible for storing and drying the barrels. Compare right.
These dump cars moved copper ore to the top of the furnaces… it’s about two stories above ground level.
The beacon was installed in 1938 and removed in the mid-2000s.
The sun was setting outside, highlighting the textures and lines that made the form of the power plant take a fourth dimension–time.
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.
The mostly-empty distilling room is easy to spot from the outside because of the distinctive round window.
This is one of the more private rooms in the old section of the hospital. It likely only accommodated one patient.
The man behind the curtain watches, but doesn’t say anything. Probably the smartest one in the room.
Through a section of the tailings boom where mountain winds tore open the sheet metal around the conveyor, I poked my head out.
The power gauge showed… broken.
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!
Dust explosions were a real risk for grain mills. These funnels helped to filter the air in the mill.
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.
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 pipe bracket seems to have rusted off of the ceiling.
“It must have been beautiful once.” “Yeah, especially in the winter.”
The fences helped discourage patients from throwing themselves down the stairs.
A small machine shop level.
To get more light into the wards, the building was narrow and had angular rooms, often staff space, perpendicular to the main hallway.
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 corner of Clyde on Michigan Street looked like it had been sealed a long time.
A breeze and broken window has animated one of the few curtains still hanging in Nopeming as of 2015.
The common rooms bulge out of the institutional geometry of the wards.
Paperwork litters the floors of the zinc mine offices.
The trees were so overgrown, it was difficult to see the hotel at all from the road.
Looking into the tunnel system from below the Women’s Ward. The tunnels were used mostly by staff to move food and laundry.
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.
Catwalk crating, welded over the yard crane operator cab’s windows.
In an old ward, two men would have shared this room.
A skyway 100 feet above this office crumbled one day. This is what happened when those two met. High-impact love.
Originally, this part of the dock was reserved for the weather station.
Standing atop the dust collector, the factory breaks down into diverging patterns, processes.
In some places in the mine shops, you can still make out narrow gauge track in the floors.
One of the few windows that escaped steel plating the last time the hospital was sealed tight to let nature roam within.
…somebody get the number of that truck! Near the Day Rooms in the Paying Patient ward.
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.
The walls are separating on the adobe house…
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.
This is where the transformers were housed. Note the steel tracks in the floor for moving equipment around the building.
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.
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 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.
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.
The clock, which was sold after Amtrak dumped the building, was returned to the Waiting Room in 2005.
Since this picture was taken, the roof has totally collapsed in this area.
The old boilers of the steam plant have been mostly gutted to remove loose asbestos.
The powerhouse had two elevated tracks behind it, one for coal and one for deliveries.
The conveyorway that carried the sintering material to the mixing floor at the top of the plant.
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.
John’s wife’s face.
A cottage for masons infected with TB to live together.
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 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.
This bay would host boxcars as workers would fill them with the fruits of the factory.
The office was redder than the rest of the building.
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.
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.
When block glass shatters, it looks like ice.
One of Martinsdale’s defunct businesses perpendicular to the depot. Recall that Martinsdale is a T-town.
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.
This dirt-brick building hasn’t fared well.
An ajar car elevator car afar, technically.
Copper poured from this furnace and was cast by the autocaster on the right into billets.
Looking into the engine works from the concrete addition.
Chicago looks in as we look out, for holes and trolls where anything goes.
The topmost roof of the hospital is covered in antennae and includes a star that faced the rest of the complex, now demolished.
One of the generators, weeks before it was taken apart to be shipped to another power plant somewhere else.
Above the offices is this little section of factory that still has strips of wood flooring. This may be where the upholstery was cut.
Sluice tables stretch into the darkness.
Germany’s steel mill city.
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.
Wind blew taconite dust against the walls of these suspended control room, making even the glass appear to rust.
An old name for an older elevator, as seen from an abandoned rail spur.
The turbine hall sported a beautiful Whiting gantry crane.
This picture is lit by a direct lightning strike of the building. It’s impossible to describe the feeling of being in this giant open building the moment it channeled an electric explosion into the earth.
In an era where smoking was ubiquitous and sexy, smoking stations had to be a part of the job, even at an explosives factory.
Steam pipes snake up the walls like vines, but with asbestos.
The company labs. If you can believe it, this area is even more destroyed today.
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.
The screen and mineral stained window cross-processed the sky.
Different colors stained the small panes on the top floor. For once, it seemed more ridiculous to not be inside an abandoned factory.
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.
The coke plant looked more natural through a grimy window.
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 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.
Stairs and power lines enter the abandoned depot. Shingles slide off the rotten roof. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
This roof hasn’t budged under the weight of snow, instead it just filters-through the light onto the floor.
The Barker turning around before it backed into Tac Harbor to unload coal for Minnesota Power.
Frontenac’s shaft house is well preserved, compared to all other around it. Leica/Summilux 35/Ektar 100
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
The power lines follow the street, down to the mineshaft. Everything revolved around the mine, it seemed.
Imagine with yellow window guards are eyebrows and the open windows are the eyes. This headframe seems a bit curious.
Sheet metal over the windows. A red boot sole in the tumbleweeds. Is it inside, or outside?
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.
Looking through Workhouse A from the top of a silo.
A typical room in the barracks, reinforced from mortars and light shelling, possibly.
This is what the complex looks like today to the bare eye. Dull, monochrome, quiet.
Looking from the mill at the old transfer elevator’s steel tanks.
A sign facing the city on an exterior wall–a sort of motivational poster.
Looking above the altar.
A side door on the rear of the castle that let guests out into a small stone courtyard below a tall turret.