Factories

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DMIR Roundhouse and Railworks
Two Harbors, MN

Climb­ing that lad­der let me see through the steam, by the orange light of the sun­set dump­ing through the sooted sky­lights like the shop lights on the dead crane. It had been a while since it lifted a loco­mo­tive off its cha­sis, but the smell of grease was still strong enough to lubri­cate my sinuses

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Firestone Tire Plant
Hamilton, ON

Hamilton is still an industrial city, that much is obvious. But Firestone was one of the first big companies to build here. To remember it, we have a shell nestled between the steel mills. It’s never dark here.

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Fisher Body Plant 21
Detroit, MI

Fisher Body #21 made plane parts in World War II, served as a homeless shelter during the Great Depression, made Cadillacs, Buicks, ambulances, busses, and even paint. What is left of this place, besides some stories and graffiti?

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Gary Screw and Bolt
Gary, IN

From 1910 to 1986, Gary Bolt & Screw manufactured an incredible amount of fasteners and steadily employed about 1,000 people. Then, something went wrong–today its walls are not filled with rusty equipment or even dust. Instead, hundreds of piles of rotting donated clothes fill in the space under the old gantry cranes…

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Gopher Ordnance Works
Rosemount, MN

It died when a nuke went off–and it looks like it. Nobody perished with it, though, and there is no radioactivity… just smokestacks and dead-end roads. This withered war plant has seen better days, but who doesn’t find the post-apocalyptic aesthetic a little intriguing?

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Great Western Sugar Mill
Sterling, CO

How can a government create an entire industry with a tax? How does a factory turn a beet into table sugar? Can we learn about our cultural history by a ruined factory left far behind? Let’s practice some industrial archeology and stand in the place of ‘high-smellers’ past, reimagining these four brick walls in a national historical context.