Minneapolis was Mill City; flour mills and linseed mills dotted the landscape, and not just along the Mississippi River. To support the world’s biggest flour and linseed companies, a huge network of grain elevators were built by various interests just outside of the east bank’s industrial districts. I investigate these elevators and the factories immediately around them one by one. Welcome to Mill Hell.
In Duluth, 28 terminal elevators dominated the harbor. Some exploded, some burned, some were demolished, and a few remain. This is a close look at the last 125 years of grain trade architecture in the city.
This building seemed a bit too eager to murder me, but it was too late to turn back. Built with inadequate materials, due to WWI material shortages, and built in a hurry, due to its sister plant burning to the ground, every day this building still stands flouts time, nature, and gravity.
Huron-Portland Cement Company came to Duluth in 1917, and it operated there until 2008.
This brewery fought off the local competition only to be brought down by Prohibition. After the booze started flowing again, instead of hitting the bottle it hit the sack–the flour sack. It spent the rest of its life as a flour mill, and most of it survives today.
In 1910, after three years of digging and blasting, workers finished their giant tunnel from West End right into downtown Duluth. It’s still there, hiding.
Lowertown Depot is neither a depot, nor is it in Lowertown. Its past is equally obtuse, blending the history of a railroad, an oil company, and the sandstone bluffs of St. Paul themselves.
The Milwaukee Road cut through Montana with steel and electricity. It left behind depots, roundhouses, electrical substations, and even towns.
The Era of Steam grew forgetful in its old age and left one of its playthings behind. Mitchell Yards ran from 1906
This 1931 barge loader irked the City of St. Paul for decades–it literally sits over the Mississippi River, making it troublesome to demolish. It turns out that this concrete tower lasted just long enough to get redeveloped. See how, and learn the whole story.
I couldn’t have guessed, standing in stall one of two, that Singer Sewing Machines had built this semi-rural roundhouse on the edge of South Bend.