I'm an abandoned building nut. If I'm hiking through the woods or walking along a city street and smell that familiar musty/moldy/wet brick and rust scent, I think - "crumbling building nearby." I'm off to explore. More often it's using either Bing or Google maps and searching along railroad tracks and rivers for abandoned buildings. That's how I found this place. Yes, many had been there before me, but I enjoyed the thrill of discovery and exploring this location. I've since taken quite a few fellow explorers here - always with utmost caution. This is a location that will injure or kill the incautious or clumsy.
As one climbs higher and higher, the density of machinery increases. The floors are Swiss-cheese, with gaps and holes everywhere - often covered by rusty sheet metal or hidden around a corner. Flashlights are a must. The ubiquitous color is rust red. You often walk through ankle-deep rust flakes. If you bump into anything, rust rains down, either on top of you - or just as often - across the room, taken there by a complex of chutes and pipes.
The building is a literal maze of pipes, conveyors, augers, ladders, beams, steps, and more. Mostly crumbling and slowly rotting away.
This is the top most accessible floor - one can climb higher, but you need to throw out caution and weigh as much as a feather. You need to trust your life to rotting 2x4's, crumbling steel ladders, and floors that are more missing than there. Even to get that far requires scaling one of the I-beams shown here, climbing up to the ceiling and through an opening in the bottom of a hopper. If you look straight up, you'll see the opening that the fearless will climb through. The stairs here are a distant memory. This room is actually quite dark - this is a 5 second exposure.
Looking up, you'll see what appears to be icicles - depending on the funnel/hopper, these are not ice - but salt, rust, sometimes lime, or a strange mixture of rusty salt.
Completed in 1917, the building was also a victim of the steel shortage leading up to World War One. It's construction was considered shoddy, but state of the art.
Today it's a wonder how these buildings are still standing. Walls are split, there are huge, gaping holes where windows once hung. Stairs open to multi-story drops, or are missing entirely. Elevators are collapsed and crumbling piles of rubble. Scrappers have taken almost everything of value, from easily accessible staircases to the copper windings in motors.
On each return visit, more and more has gone missing. Staircases and steel cabinets have vanished, and sections of walls have been pounded out of the way to make room for hauling out this bounty.
Access to the upper levels was once simple - up the stairs, up a ladder, and there was access. Now it's up piles of rubble, as the lower level stairs are no more.
The complex is scheduled for demolition in late 2013. Few doubt it will happen. The basement holds approximately six billion gallons of contaminated water. Oil, asbestos, decades of debris and heavy metal silt, all mixed into a titanic toxic cocktail. Just wait a few years - the buildings will implode on their own.