The Midwest

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Studebaker Car Factory
South Bend, IN

South Bend, Indiana is a kind of graveyard that one only finds in the Rust Belt, where the headstones are blast furnaces and the only people who visit look for something left behind. Here lies Studebaker, a dead American car company.

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Sunday Lake Mine
Wakefield, MI

Mines are strange things that never appear as they are, at least not on the surface. They are powerful enough to found cities and feed families when they are young, but are very often left to be forgotten in plain sight when they retire.

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Sunflower Ordnance Works
DeSoto, KS

What can be done if you want to cover thousands of acres peppered with abandonments? Swap that 20mpg for a proper 10-speed, chuck it over the barbed wire, then take off with a camera on your back. There’s nothing like biking through the abandoned military-industrial complex, so do you think you can keep up?

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The JB Ford Ore Boat
Lake Superior

I couldn’t believe it took me so long it took for me, having lived in Duluth, Minnesota for five years, to get onto an abandoned laker. Still afloat, the JB Ford launched in 1904 to carry iron ore and was later converted as a floating concrete carrier. Welcome aboard.

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Twohy and Osborn Blocks
Superior, WI

Since the 1890s, little has changed on North First Street. The Twohy and Osborn buildings have survived a century just a block off the beaten path, just out of sight of downtown. A few good stories hide there; these are some of them.

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Universal Atlas Cement Co.
Gary, IN

Construction of this plant, which would become the largest of its kind in the world, began in 1903. It processed byproducts of US Steel’s blast furnaces into Portland cement for nearly a century. Donald Trump and a partner bought half of the complex and demolished it for a hotel in 1995 and the city bought the other half in 1999. What wasn’t demolished is still abandoned.

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US Steel Works Ruins
Duluth, MN

Duluth’s steel mill was all about moving production closer to raw product; instead of shipping ore via Dock 5 or Allouez the steel could be forged locally. While I explore the plant’s ruinous footprint, I talk about the history of the Duluth US Steel Mill from construction to demolition.

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White Pine Mine
White Pine, MI

White Pine Mine was a major copper producer in the U.P. from the 1950s to the 1990s, making it one of the last of its kind. Now, all there is to see is a mothballed smelter, a ruined mill, and a ghost town.