Post details: mfa mill

02/05/05

Permalink 05:25:06 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 803 words   English (US)

mfa mill

The other night I checked out the old MFA Mill in Springfield. I'd driven by it a million times over the years, but I never knew it was abandoned until someone pointed it out to me. A couple weeks after I found out the place was abandoned, I saw an article in the paper about how they were going to renovate the old mill for homeland defense research. I immediately moved it to the top of my to-do list, because I wasn't about to set foot in there when they started construction on that.

So, of course, I snuck into the old mill. I started out by checking out a catwalk on the outside of the building. From there, I mistakenly climbed about five stories up a ladder that I thought would lead into the upper part of the mill. Instead, it lead to a little room overlooking some kind of grain tank, and I got to climb all the way back down.

Inside, on the first floor, there was usual grain equipment that I had no idea what was for. I also found the way to the upper floors, and it was a little disheartening. I'd heard that there were no stairs in the entire building, and it was true. The workers apparently used a manlift, a small elevator for taking them up and down, to go about the building. The manlift was gone, and all that remained was a ladder going up between the rails. If you wanted to go up, you had to climb about fifteen stories (or however tall the mill is) straight up.

Climbing the ladder turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. Partly, because it was below freezing outside, the ladder was metal, and I had forgotten my gloves. And partly because I was carrying a backpack full of junk and a tripod on my back, all of which barely fit through the opening around the ladder. Every few floors I had to stop and warm my hands up.

Somewhere around ten floors high, I came to a long room that sat on top of about a dozen huge grain storage tubes that went all the way to the ground. There were doors on either side of the room that led out on top of the tubes. I took the opportunity to walk out on both sides and take some pictures, even though anybody paying attention below could've seen me.

The next floor or two up, I ran into a problem. There was a big metal pulley in the middle of the ladder that stuck out about a foot. If I wanted to continue up the ladder, I had to somehow climb up and over that thing while carrying all my crap. Then I noticed a catwalk outside a window, with a ladder on the side of the building going all the way up to a window on the top floor.

So, out the window I went, which turned out to be an even worse idea than climbing over the pulley inside. The wind was horrible at that height, the ladder was ice cold, and there wasn't even a cage around the ladder to protect me. If I fell, I was going down.

But, I didn't fall, and, once I made it a few more stories up the outside ladder, I crawled inside the window of the top floor. Inside, the room was full of machinery, like all the other floors. The only thing unique was that this room was set at two different levels, with a ladder leading down into the lower area.

After that, I found the ladder to the roof and went up top. There was a few rusting structures up there and something that resembled a storage tank for grain. Of course, the best part was the view. I could see for miles and miles away, and I spent at least half an hour up there taking long exposure shots of the city. And if I thought I was cold before, I was wrong. The wind was vicious up there, and I was freezing my ass off.

Eventually, I headed back down, which took forever because my backpack and tripod kept catching on things in the tight space and trying to come up over my head. I'd spent a lot longer there than I intended, and, honestly, I'd been ready to leave just a minute or so after setting foot on the roof. But I had to make sure I took enough pictures, especially from the top. Because I was pretty sure I was standing on the second highest building in Springfield, and because I had already made up my mind that, even if they didn't renovate the building, I was never climbing those damn ladders again.

Comments, Pingbacks:

Comment from: EdB [Visitor] · http://wonderwinds.com
Get a rope. Seriously, bring some rope so's when you got a wierd place to climb up you can climb then haul stuff. Silly to get snagged or worse because gear is on your back...

Thanks for the good reading by the way. Always look forward to it.
Permalink 02/05/05 @ 18:17
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Permalink 01/14/10 @ 04:59

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