Minneapolis / Saint Paul / Twin Cities urban exploration
Action Squad Goes Ghost Town Huntin'
(or, the internet cannot be trusted)
(Click the pix to see 'em full size, bozo)

Day 1: Not really ghost town hunting, but whatever

Members: Max Action, Fuck, and Rebel

A long time ago I'd found a historical type
website all about the old Jordan Brewery from the 1800's, and how it was almost certainly going to be torn down but the U wanted the extensive brewery caves preserved for geological studies.  So we drove down there on Wednesday evening to check it out.  I hadn't expected much, probably a big metal door in a cliff somewhere outside of town down by the rived that we wouldn't be able to get through.  But when we arrived we discovered that the brewery was 1) almost right in the middle of "downtown" Jordan, and 2) it had been totally renovated and was now home to a photography studio, an antique store or something like that, and a historical brewery touristy type place.  Fuck.  We went home.

Day 2: The quest for a fuckin ghost town (or, fuck those historians)
Members: Max Action, Fuck, and Rebel

This is the story of the day Action Squad went ghost town hunting.  We'd found all kinds of towns that the internet claimed were ghost towns.  Before we left, however, we did further research, which usually showed that these were either completely gone or had been taken over by history-minded/tourist-minded SOBs.  One "ghost town," Mantorville, was supposed to have over 200 deserted buildings, according to one website. 

Then we found www.mantorville.com and, being geniuses, realized that the town had experienced quite a bit of a recovery.  However, since there was an interesting mention of the ruins of the old Mantorville Brewery on the edge of town on their up-to-date website, and as there were several alleged ghost towns right around there, we decided to head down there anyway and check out the area (these are mostly "class-D" ghost towns, which are not completely abandoned; rather, they have very few residents compared to their heydays and have many abandoned structures).

Fuck, Rebel, and I left around 2 PM in high spirits ... even if we found jack shit, we were going to have a fun roadtrip anyway ... the ghost town hunting just gave us a good excuse.  As we arrived in Mantorville an hour or two later, we passed a road sign announcing that our ghost town had a population of something like 900 people.  The mid-skirts of town, between the farmland and the historic downtown district, were very modern-looking suburban-esque neighborhoods.  We stopped and got gas at the "Mantorville MantorMart."  The center of town was filled with antique stores and shit, and every single building had the date it was founded prominently displayed, including the wiseass non-historical saloon; in olde-tyme script, its sign read, "Established 1999."

You could tell that a lot of the town had recently been in disrepair but was now undergoing rehabilitation, especially the older houses near downtown.  We went straight out to the old brewery.  It was in the woods at the base of a cliff, and really was better described as "ruins" than as an abandoned building.  Much of it was long gone, and the old stone walls were caving in on themselves.  We waded through the deep wet snow and easily bypassed the wire fencing someone had put up over the entries in a half-assed attempt to keep kids out of it.

There was some graffiti in the main rooms, including an excellent nude baring both enormous breasts and an enormous penis.  There wasn't any graffiti to be found back in the brewery caves (which were only 2 independent caves, with no tunnels and no "extensive" anything) behind the brewery under the cliff.  The smaller of the two was collapsing, with huge hunks of rock both smashed on the floor and hanging from the ceiling.  Cave #2 was much larger and in great shape.  We checked all of it out and then climbed up into the ruins atop the first floor, where all that remained of the second level were a couple of partial walls.

And that was that for Mantorville.

We left town and headed toward the next "ghost town," Wasabji (or something like that, I'll check the spelling later), which was just north of Mantorville.  On the way we stopped to look at a huge limestone quarry (actually, it was probably medium-sized as far as quarries go.  I have no idea.) and wound up hiking all the way around it for the hell of it.  We found some old cars on the way.  The snow was very deep, very wet, and we finally got back to the car exhausted and soaked from the knees down.  I wish I could explain why we consider things like that to be fun.

We wrung out our socks and hit the road again.  Wasabji is home of a small stone building that was used as a civil war recruiting station, if you care.  It is the size of a walk in closet.  We decided to check out the cemetery, which was at the end of a dead end road.  Ha ha.  There were some damned old graves, etc etc etc.  We got our feet even more wet and left.

We decided to head back home and maybe check out Ninninger, a "ghost town" near Hastings, which we were almost certain was completely gone.  But on the way back up highway 57 (we'd come down a different way) we passed two abandoned farm houses, few abandoned barns, silos, sheds, etc, all of which we had to stop to explore.  I found a mummified cat and took it with us, to replace poor Bugs the rabbit skeleton, lost outside the Ford Mines.  My roommate and I are still arguing about its gender, so it still has no name, poor thing. 

We were exploring the last homestead, which had multiple buildings, when it become completely dark outside.  As we poked around in the milking area, (near the silo, in which we found a couple of raccoons trying to sleep), Fuck saw a light from the road.  We killed our flashlights and watched as a pickup truck idled outside, examining our car.  After a minute or so it drove away, and we decided to do likewise, in case the driver opted to make a call to the local hick law.  We had a mummy cat, a bunch of photos taken with a piece of junk camera, wet socks, boots, and pants, and fond memories as we hit the highway back to Minneapolis.


And that was our day ghost town huntin' and ghost bustin.'  A hell of a good time, even if true Minnesota ghost towns proved as ephemeral as, well, ghosts.





















urban exploration ala Action Squad