Minnesota North Shore – Two Harbors Abandoned site

On our way back down the North Shore we stayed in Two Harbors.  Lou’s Fish House has some very tasty morsels for the smoked seafood connoisseur.  The smoked jumbo shrimp were fantastic!

If you are into architectural antiques, be certain to stop by North Shore Architectural Antiques and check out the inventory.  There are lots of interesting old pieces there to browse.  They offer a deconstruction service – three levels in fact.  I see this becoming more and more popular as society is taking to the repurpose, reuse, reclaim and recycle movement.

You can head down to the waterfront and observe a working ore dock by walking out on the break-water.  Also in the immediate vicinity are four locations operated by the Lake County Historical Society:  Two Harbors Lighthouse, The Depot Museum, Edna G. Tugboat and 3M Museum.

This is a great town to spend some time in.

Two Harbors AbandonedThe Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway (DM&IR) is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota. Control of the railway was acquired on May 10, 2004, by the Canadian National Railway when it purchased the assets of Great Lakes Transportation.


150px-Logo_of_the_Duluth,_Missabe_and_Iron_Range_RailwayThe Duluth, Messabe and Iron Range Railroad began in Two Harbors with a 6-stall wooden roundhouse, but it didn’t take long for the railroad to expand. By 1930, a machine shop, boiler shop, car shop, boiler house, storehouse, foundry, engine room and a 50-stall brick roundhouse blanketed the 30 acres of DM&IR’s lakefront property. 109 locomotives were maintained by the shop, half of which were overhauled annually, while 30 or so received light repair. The roundhouse and machine shop ran 24 hours, maintaining the fleet for both a long ore season and abusive timber season, in addition to limited passenger service.

Out of the 30 buildings that comprised the historic shops, 8 still exist today, although the roofs of many are failing catastrophically. Historic roundhouses and locomotive shops all over the Midwest have been destroyed, but these are still preservable, in spite of the damage. With a little social-historical consciousness and the desire to save those reminders of bygone days that mark the American timeline.


This site was absolutely fantastic!  I must say that it is my all-time favorite abandoned site to date that I have had the privilege to shoot.  The lighting inside was amazing and the graffiti outstanding.  I shot this location with my trusty Nikon D60 coupled with the Tamron 18-270mm @ 7.1 on auto ISO.  This is the camera that is by my side at all times.  You’ll notice the grain in the photos.  I think it adds character to the images.  I was going to process this location all in B&W, but the colorful graffiti, moss and other aspects of the building dictated otherwise. On some level I wish I would have spent more time and used a different camera, lens and tripod.  Different gear and more time would have allowed for a more complete exploration of the light and angles of this relic and captured some rock-solid exposures.  I think some really amazing HDR photography could be produced here.


14 Replies to “Minnesota North Shore – Two Harbors Abandoned site”

  1. While I think I would be nervous to go there alone, I somehow feel compelled to wish I could. Great collection from the abandoned site. Feels so cavernous and alone in there. The broken windows and rusting steel gives a sad feeling, of a building neglected and forgotten, which of course – it is.

  2. This was/is by far the most exciting abandoned structure we have had the honor of photographing! What a find this gem was!! The images are perfect and portrays the feeling of this magical place! I love the use of lighting and composure… 3 thumbs up babe 🙂

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