Gold & Silver Processing Mill

The abandoned Mill was built in 1922 to process local gold and silver ore, using a cyanide solution and specific process which incorporated (a separation technique for removing gold from a cyanide solution). The Mill operated for only 4 years, closing in 1926 and processing $7.5 million worth of silver and gold.  Over its short life, the Mill was owned by two different corporate entities and at the time, was considered the largest, most modern and sophisticated mill of its type in the U.S.

The Mill was shut down due to metallurgical problems and the dropping price of silver. When the Mill closed, all of the equipment, consisting of metal and wood materials, were scrapped and salvaged. During the salvaging process, little care was taken in the removal of equipment and other materials. Concrete structural components were cut and broken as required to facilitate the removal process, resulting in a great deal of damage. Large holes and voids were left in the concrete, reinforcing steel was cut, and concrete structural members were broken. Today only the deteriorated concrete skeletons of the structures remain.  The existing buildings consist of decaying/crumbling concrete, exposed reinforcing steel and large holes in the cement floors.

In 1996 a fatality occurred inside one of the structures when an individual attempted to maneuver up a set of stairs with an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). In response, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) officially closed the interior of the buildings to public entry on January 21, 1997.  Since 1998, the BLM has repeatedly fenced, gated, and posted closure signs at the mill site and scarified access roads for public safety, however this site is still visited almost daily by locals with complete ease of access.

The “Greenhouse”

Went on a little 6hr urbex adventure yesterday.  One of the first places we explored was a place I affectionately call “The Greenhouse”.  I’m sure you can tell why, from the pics below 🙂  In its Hay Day, this building that now sits in shambles, was once a bustling Heat Treating Company.

Now the factory floor which I’m sure was full of activity, is now covered with assorted foliage and home to a few homeless people who are very protective of their shelter.  On our way in, we chatted with a transient who resides in this building.  He wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to disturb his wife who was sleeping inside of their make shift home, in the back corner.  We promised to be respectful and entered with his blessing 🙂

Alternative High School

Built in 1911, the alternative high school was slated to be an “African-centered, non traditional” school.  Designated for students who were struggling academically and were 1-2 years behind classmates their age.  In 1921 the school was expanded and enrollment was steady, as there were plenty of troubled/struggling youth to fill the classroom space.  The alternative high school maintained a steady flow of students, peaking in 2007 with its highest enrollment to date, with 736 students.  At that time, it was attributed as having the largest school student body size in the Detroit City School District.  However despite the enrollment achievement, it was decided that the alternative high school would close as part of a DPS Realignment Plan.

After the decision was made, attendance dropped to the low 300’s and then down to the mid 200’s at the time of closure.  Among the decisions for the school’s closure, was the aging condition of the building, including cracks in the foundation, dilapidating roof, unsound/leaky walls, as well as several other maintenance issues with the doors, window and the heating system.  The alternative school closed its doors in 2011.  Since that time, its been heavily vandalized and subject to the elements.