hoodwatch (thehoodwatch) wrote in abandonedplaces,

The Carrie Furnaces

As usual I am many months behind on posting photos. This spot was a place we talked about going for years but never made it out to. It's about 4 hours from my house heading west which isn't the best stretch of highway as it snakes through mountains and all that. However one October day we decided it would be too cold to go if we waited any longer and if we wanted to do it this year we better do it now.

So on the Saturday before Halloween of 2011 we headed out at 4 in the morning. Strangely they were calling for a chance of snow which is way early in the year considering it usually isn't until December that we see first snow. Radar maps showed it was predicted to move entirely around the area we were heading to so we figured we would get lucky and all would be fine. About 2 hours into the trip we reach Breezewood, Pa which is where we would need to enter the turnpike. It was now snowing somewhat and actually starting to stick, the sun hadn't even come up at this point. We ate some plastic food at Denny's and ultimately decided that heading even more into snow territory could get us stuck somewhere. 2 hours into the trip we decided to reverse course. We made it about 45 minutes back towards home driving slowly on the highway when we came to an icy bridge. As soon as we crossed over that bridge the car began to fish tail back and forth while going about 50mph I would assume. Eventually the car spun out 180* and slid trunk first into a guard trail completely caving in the back wheel and quarter panel. Luckily the semi truck behind us didn't nail us as we spun around. So now we were 1.5 hours from home and stuck in a snow storm. This was a day we should have slept in. We waited maybe an hour until a tow truck came and rescued us. Thankfully my car was back at the park and ride and all we had to do was drive half an hour until we could go get that and then drive the rest of the way home which was no fun either. Long story short it cost $8,000 and 2.5 months to repair my friend's Civic.




Fast forward 2 weeks later and we had a very good looking forecast for that November weekend. We decided we would not be defeated by the weather troll this time and we began our journey once again at 4am. There was some deja vu on the way up there but the weather was very nice and we made it to our destination in less than 4 hours I think. We parked on top of a huge hill overlooking the place and had to climb down it through the thorn bushes, down the railroad tracks, over one fence, down a road, up the side of another elevated set of rails, down another road, down a hill, through a fence with a hole in it, across a field, then over a barb wire fence and finally into the base of the concrete structure the ore bridge rides on. Naturally we were quite worn out at this point. We decided to walk through the place first and check things out since it was very obvious workers had been here recently because there were some scissor lifts still on the property. We gave it a quick walk through when about 5 minutes later my friend says he saw car drive by on the property. I never heard anything so I was a bit surprised by this. To play it safe we decided to hide at the edge of the property at the bottom of the ore bridge which meant climbing over a worse barb wire fence.

2. Ore Bridge base...


So now we spent maybe an hour kind of hanging out in this area when we decided to just say screw it and just walk around the perimeter and check it out. I wanted to climb up a little though and get at least one good shot of the back of the place. I made it up only one flight before I noticed 2 guys climbing up the sides of the furnaces. They just looked like regular guys so I thought maybe it was other explorers up there. At this point we cut our losses and just decided to walk around the property. As soon as we clear the wall again to where we can see through the fence there had to be 10 different vehicles on the property now and a ton of people walking around. So we decided to just blend in and walk inside the fence and get as close to the place as we could. Of course some guy in a pickup truck sees us and asks us what we are doing. We just say came to talk to the guy in charge. He gives us a name, reminds us we are trespassing, but doesn't really do anything to stop us. So we walk up to some of the people there and start talking to them. A lot of them had cameras as well and it turns out they were a film crew trying to document the restoration efforts they are doing to the place. We were able to talk to the guy in charge of the restoration and he was very cool but basically said it's not up to him to decide who gets to come in so after a chat we were sent on our way. We did get the name of the guy who was in charge of doing tours and would later attempt to call him but being a Saturday he wasn't in the office.

3. Hot metal rail car aka "sub" (like submarine) on the edge of the property...


At this point we decided to walk around the outside a little and check out the hot metal bridge. Basically this is a special bridge that has walls as to not allow any molten metal to spill out onto people or barges below. Unfortunately a sunny day doesn't work too well on this bridge and there is a ton of harsh shadows, but I got a few decent shots...

4. Tons of train traffic, this place must be a hub for transporting automobiles out west or something...










9. Yes I did wear my Baltimore Ravens shirt to Pittsburgh and the next day the Ravens defeated them at their home 23-20...





Fast forward AGAIN several weeks later. My friend was able to call the guy in charge of tours and he arranged 2 tours back to back. The first tour was just 5 of us and we would have more free reign of the place, the second tour was supposed to be for like 15+ people although that turned out to be ill fated. So we did our 4am thing and upgraded our breakfast to a Bob Evans. Then we went to the mill to wait for someone to come and open up. This was the weekend after Thanksgiving so it was pretty dead around. Turns out the guy who organized the tour never even showed up but thankfully the guy we met the time before in charge of the restoration did and he let us inside. This time we had our own private steel mill. Like birds we flocked to the highest point in the place.

11. Getting to most spots involves climbing a lot of ladders. My arms felt like they were going to fall off after getting to the top...


12. Once to the top I proceeded to take what I think is the greatest photo I have ever made. I don't even think it looked this awesome in real life. In the background where the smoke is you can see an active steel mill...


13. The light was not as great on the other side. This place was a mess of pipes...


14. Look closely and you can see people on it...


15. Ore Bridge...


16. Rails it runs along...


17. The bridge moves and dumps raw iron ore into these hoppers which sends them into these buckets that are pulled up to the top by cables and dumped into the furnaces...




We were inspired by that old photo of workers on a beam...






21. You know I support defacing the Steelers logo normally, but not when it is in a historical place...


22. 70 year old tractor they still use to mow the lawn...






25. Oh yeah, and there is also a 30ft tall deer head sculpture some guy illegally made by breaking in and using pieces he found around the place to build...








29. Detail of the diamond shaped plates holding the thing together...


30. Hot metal bridge out back...




32. Really high up...












38. Half of the roof was gone because it was getting replaced soon...


39. Amazing sky at sunset. Wish I could have captured it better...




Old postcard I got on ebay:


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