No, we're not dead or trapped or imprisoned. Yes, I still plan on doing all kinds of new updates to the site. Thanks to everyone who wrote! I've just been extremely busy with a wide variety of things. Among them, I've been emailing back and forth with a long-time fan of the site who strongly feels I should make t-shirts available for sale on the site. Imagine the logo from the Missions page, and text (this was not my idea) reading "WHAT WOULD MAX ACTION DO?"

I do sort of like the idea, but somehow it just seems seriously wrong to make such self-glorifying t-shirts. Weasel (the fan) swears people would want them but I think he's overestimating their appeal. I agreed to mention it on here, and if there is a lot of interest generated then Weasel was right, I was wrong, and I suppose I would go ahead and look into shirt-making. If not, I'm right and I don't need to waste time and money making shirts that no one but Mr. Weasel would want. Email me if you have an opinion to share.

Oh, and I just found out that Action Squad is featured in the recently released book "Odd Minnesota," which would be a really cool book for locals even without us being in it, since it's all about the weird and interesting locations you can find all over the state. It's on and in bookstores if you want to check it out.

In lieu of an update, here's an MP3 off of the Action Squad compliation:

"Going Underground" by the Jam


Finally! Enjoy the new section on the historical Phalen Creek Tunnel !


Been too busy to get the next update done, but I have written the trip log text. In the next few days I should have time to scan all the pics, write up the historical background, and do all the page design. In the meantime, I'll stall some more and present a sign we found in the Hamm's Brewery:



Yep, I went and did it again ... waited a month before a public update. Bad Max! I spent a lot of time creating a massive update that will not be publicly unveiled for awhile. However, here are two silly bits to keep you amused for a few days while I put together the next update, which will feature either a HUGE drain/underground creek, or an abandoned bowling alley.

In the meantime: here's a sign that both amuses and depresses me, which I found last week while exploring an abandoned building on the edge of downtown Minneapolis with Dag Jefferson:

Damn, what a great boss! What a wonderful place to work! What a disjointed and rambling rant, laminated and put up as a sign! What the hell was that part about choices all about, anwyay?!

Next, we bring you the debut of Max Action, singer! I was driving home from work a couple of weeks ago and pondering the weird things that I derive pleasure from (tangles of pipes, the smell of a sewer, rooftops of any kind, etc), when the idea for this song hit me. A workday spent writing lyrics, some donated sound-editing software (thanks, Krazy!), and a good amount of booze later, this MP3 was born:

Right click here and select "Save Target" if you really want to hear Max Action "sing" his version of "My Favorite Things."

Action Squad is no way responsible for any effect it may have on your hearing or sanity.


Subbasements, rooftops
And a steam tunnel's heat
Rust-choked machinery
And tracks left by rat feet

The echoes in drains when somebody sings
These are a few of my favorite things

Boarded-up buildings
And signs giving warnings
All-night adventures
Drives home in the morning

The indoor thunder of pigeon wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Long lost buried voids
And underground 'falls
The shapes of tunnels
And crumbling brick walls

The way manhole covers hit by cars ring
These are a few of my favorite things

When the light dies
When alarms ring
When the outlook's bad

I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so sad



The new local 'zine "The Twin Cities Wire" has just come out, and in it's an article/interview with yours truly, Max Action. It's a good article, and, unlike the fiasco with City Pages, they didn't quote me as saying anything I didn't say. Check out the article here.


Here's one that was first listed as a "coming soon" section on the site two years ago: the U of MN Saint Paul Campus Steam Tunnels.

However, in the last week we've added two other new missions to the update backlog, so progress toward catching-up has actually been backward. Some groups hibernate in the freezing winter months. We go into exploration overdrive, it seems ...


We get a lot of emails from a certain type of people that are dying to know if we ever encounter ghosts or other supernatural phenomenon during our explorations. Well, we don't. We don't even believe in ghosts. Sorry.

However, in an effort to please the paranormalists out there (and amuse ourselves), we present The Bridge to Dimension Zed.

We might not believe in ghosts, but we wouldn't DARE disbelieve in Zed ...


There! Finally! Enjoy the new section on the Martha G Ripley Memorial Hospital.

Coming soon: a section for you weirdos who are always bugging us for paranormal stories.

Well ... sort of.


Whoa. That was the first time I wrote a date with an "03" at the end of it. Anyway, the update on our recent exploration of the building shown below is under construction: the photos are back, and the trip log has been written. It would be done by now if I hadn't been hugely sidetracked by a project I'd been kicking around for a long time now: an Action Squad / Urban Exploration Compilation. Next update will include a full new section, I promise.


Egads! Another pseudo-update!

The purpose of this update is to recommend that everyone check out the website run by the gracious Action Squad benefactor that provides us with our hosting. I only recently got a cable modem, and as a result I only checked out his photography website in any detail just today ... and I love it (no, he did not put me up to this in exchange for hosting us)!

For some reason I really like the sign in front of the Hotel Lincoln that we explored... much of afiler's site is devoted to the same kinds of neat stuff.
Anyway, if you have an interest in photography, ghost towns, abandoned buildings, old signs, etc, check his site out, 'cause you'll love it too. Navigate the galleries with the little yellow signs in the corners.


Just added the little poll at the top of this page. Please take a moment to vote if you have a favorite mission!


So it's been over a month again. Sorry about that. Here's a section on an abandoned hotel we explored last month: Hotel Lincoln.

Coming soon: another abandoned building from Duluth (The Fortune Building), a section about the U of MN Saint Paul campus steam tunnels that we've been sitting on for almost 2 years, and all kinds of other crap. Past full missions that still need to be put on the site: nine. Pictures of miscellaneous trips and such that I hope to put up in a hodge-podge section of some kind: dozens and dozens and dozens. My precious time: priceless. Hang in there, and bug me if you must.


Sorry about the update hiatus. I kept putting off a new update until I bought a new scanner, but after two months without an update I decided it was high time to quit being a lazy dick and update the site.

So without further ado, here's a pretty recent site we've explored: The Abandoned Temple of Saints Volodymyr and Olga. Or, if you don't like good titles, you could call it Grace Community Church. Bah. It was only Grace for 8 years: it was the Temple of Volodymyr for decades ...



Added a long-delayed section on the West Bank Mill Tailrace Tunnels, in which we explore a flooded tunnel system using foam sheets as rafts.


Rebuilt the Photo Gallery. Mostly the same pictures, but a better layout.


Added a large scanned jpeg of the interview that just came out in the August 2002 issue of Minnesota Monthly Magazine: Tunnel Rat. A nice little piece, unlike the pile of shit that resulted when I answered some questions for the City Pages last year ...


Revamped the Links page, which had gotten just pathetic. Well, maybe it still is pathetic, but there are some new links, and they all work, and it looks better, too. So shut up.


Added a new trip log (mostly photos) from another journey we took into the Stahlmann Brewery Cellars.


Added an interesting email we received from a former brewery employee regarding the mystery of the "R.I.P." marker we found over a fermentation tank entrance.


OK, so it's been awhile. See, it's EASY to update at least once a month when the weather is cruddy ... but it's been (a late!) spring here and I've been spending my lazy time doing just about everything but sit around online. There have been several trips since the last update, including a return to Stahlmann's. And there are still about a dozen missions on the backlog waiting to get put online, including the coolest underground site we've ever explored.

I was going to save this to use as part of a much larger update, but that might take months to get up on the site ... so here's a 2-part section on The Cobb Caves, in which Action Squad learns a bit about technical climbing techniques.


Deep below the Landmark (formerly Schmidts, formerly Stahlmann's) Brewery, lurk an extensive network of ancient tunnels and caves where beer was lagered in the late 1800's. Getting into these cellars is a shitty job ... and that pun IS intended. Action Squad has been in a lot of dangerous situations over the years, but it was our quest to get into the Stahlmann Brewery Cellars that came closest to killing us.


Yet more housekeeping: totally rebuilt the Ford Motors Sand Mines section, with some new info and 7 new historical photos.


Keep yer pants on. Only added a recent article from the Saint Paul Pioneer Press on the history and future of the GTA Headhouse & Sackhouse.


Today we bring you a new section on an old Action Squad mission ground: the Gopher Munition Plant, or, as local teenagers used to call it, "The U-Lands." The ruins of a World War II Munitions plant ... check it out. It will cure your herpes and return your sexual vigor.


Happy Hallmark Day! Next time you crack open a beer, stop and think about what went into that shit. Even the crappiest domestic piss water (which I actually prefer) didn't just come out of a tap somewhere. They actually have to make it from weeds and seeds and the like. And they do it all at a Brewery. Once, Hamm's Beer was brewed locally here in its birthplace, Saint Paul, Minnesota. Now, the buildings stand vacant, surrounded by barbed wire, razor wire, security cameras, and passing police officers. So we decided to explore the place: enjoy the Hamm's Brewery update!


Time flies when you're working on huge updates. Sorry, but the two I'm speaking of are still in progress, so nothing new yet. But these should be some pretty impressive new sections when they are completed. In the meantime, the front page has a slightly new look, and I've overhauled a few other pages as well. I made the mistake of looking at the site in a higher resolution than my normal 800x600, and now I see all kinds of shit that needs to be fixed. *sigh*


Happy New Years! I did this update over the last week, so that all I have to do today is upload a few HTML files to unveil the new section on the Wabasha Street Bridge Rooms, Cave, and Tunnels. No matter how hung over I might be, that should be within my capabilities. Enjoy the update, and the new year, too.


Wow! I recall doing a site update a year ago today ... I cannot remember what section I added, but I do recall saying something along the lines of "Fuck Christmas, I'd rather be exploring. Or, at least, updating the site ... " So here we are again, a year later. Today's update is another oldie that has been waiting to be added since the summer: the Yoerg Brewery Caves. Coming up next (I think): a section on the trip we took into the very guts of the Wabasha Bridge on Sunday night. Either that, or the rather frightening tale of how on Saturday night Action Squad came the closest we've ever come to death ... one of the shittiest deaths imaginable. So, until next time, "Merry Christmas" ... for those who still believe in Santa, elves, Jesus, God, and other fairy tales. Weirdos.


In another mighty blow to the mission backlog, we've updated the section on the Kittsondale Helix Drains, with a new trip log and photo spread focused on the East Kittsondale drain (the Triple Helix's sister drain). And, of course, in the process I fixed the appalling old layout of the page. Eventually, all the sections that went up with the original site will be revamped. Why? Because they're ugly, and ugly is bad.


So you thought we were going back into update hibernation, did ya? Nope. Been working on some major updates which we won't be ready to go public with for months yet. However, in the meantime, I've totally revamped the Chute's Cave section of the site, with about 20 new photos, a new trip log, improved historical information, and a much more eye-pleasing layout.


Nothing like a good philosophical conversation with a hot girl while you're working on a site update. Finally added the section on the Heinrich Brewery Caves. Hope you like it, ya filthy animals.


Hey, happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful that I live in an area built on Saint Peter Sandstone, making it easy for everyone who felt like it to dig tunnels all over the place. I also am pretty fuckin' thankful that I don't work at my old job anymore. So here's a section on Infiltration in the Workplace: The Soo Line Building.


It only took us, oh, 8 months or so to get the pictures for the Ghost Town Hunting trip posted! Check it out!

Hmmm. We have three trips planned to different locations this weekend, which means that all the updating I did these last two weeks will just about leave us at breaking even, with the 2 dozen or so mission backlog remaining roughly steady. Agh!


Added a little essay on the purpose and history of this website. The updates promised to come next are being held up as I wait for Dag Jefferson (hey! Dag!) to send me the scans of the new Chute's Cave and Ghost Town pictures.


Totally redid the "Photos" section. Now it's tiny but focused on the coolest pix. Well, the pix I like best, anyway. Coming soon: a new batch of photos from Chute's Cave, the pictures for the Ghost Town Huntin' section, and an all-new section on the Heinrich Brewery Caves.


A-ha! More! Added a section on a pretty cool drain system we just explored last weekend: The Temple of the Drowned Cat.

11/14/01 (PM this time)

Admit it. You're surprised. You figured there wouldn't be a new update for another 2 months. Don't worry, I don't blame you. So I am getting the hang of Dreamweaver. I KNOW there is an easier way to do the shit I'm doing, but I'll figure that out in time (or Dag Jefferson will TEACH ME [boner ... cough cough ahem]). I've created a new section for our VERY recent li'l trip to the GTA Headhouse & Sackhouse, which is an abandoned grain elevator-type building on the river (literally) near Downtown Saint Paul. And I'm not sure I'm done for the night ...


Did I say within a week? Ha! Try a few hours later! I was just looking at the guestbook, and I've finally had enough of the piece of shit cutting people off without warning. They write nice long posts, and the fucking thing axes off everything past 2 and a half lines. Not cool. So I went hunting for a free guestbook service, and pasted all the old entries into the new one. Whoo hoo!


Well god damn! This is Max Action, being the webguy again. Good old Dag Jefferson, the guy I set up as our new web guy, has problems with motivation. Now that he also has a girlfriend and 2 jobs, I figured it was time give up on the lad. Thanx, Dag, for the Redwing update and the other work! (you boner ... cough cough ahem) What this means is that I need to teach myself the skills to update this website now that we ain't on Geocities anymore. Do you have ANY IDEA how behind I am? This last weekend ALONE we went on 5 different trips! So, tonight I am starting small (remember I'm clueless at this shit outside of the Geocities program I'd taught myself). I've updated the section on the Cambridge State Hospital, adding historical info and photos. Just that little update has so far taken an hour and a half! Agh! Feel free to harass me if the site is not updated again within a week.

If you emailed us within the last month, please forgive us if we have not gotten back to you yet. The City Pages article generated a lot of mail, and I am no good at responding punctually.


- Ok it's long overdue but I finally put up a few new updates. The first thing that should be mentioned is the article that just ran in the City Pages. CLICK HERE to see Action Squad's response to being horribly misquoted. Bastards. Also, we've added a section about our trip to the Redwing caves.


- We're baaaaaaaack!  After a nice break from internet stuff, I've come back to the surface to kick this website's ass back into shape.  And step one was getting the fuck OFF of Geocities.  So CLICK HERE if you are not already at the address!  We're fuckin free!  Now comes the hard part, though.  See, the work so far has all been done by a secret Action Squad benefactor (mind if I name ya?), who graciously hosted our site for free, as well as copied it over and set it up.  But now *I* need to figure out how the hell to update it, and then get moving on the dozen or so new places I have not yet scanned, written, or uploaded anything for yet.  Fuck!  Any encouragement is welcome ... I might need it.


- OK. So here's the deal. I'm not a web guy. I don't make websites: this is my virginal effort. And I'm fuckin sick of all the damned work. I had hoped to get this site moved to a new server, but this would involve remaking each and every page in dreamweaver, which I only kind of know. I have to scan every damn picture, resize em, make little thumbnails manually, upload them ... ugh. It takes forever. Did I mention I have a 26K dial up connection? And now I'm out of room on the site to add new shit anyway. I'm like 20 missions behind. I'm taking a break from updating the site for awhile. I'm going to go on trips without thinking about getting photos fit for the website. I'm on vacation, motherfuckers. To those people who have emailed us about server help, etc: deepest apologies for not getting back to anyone. I'm a lazy fuckup and my AOL email ate all of the offers because I waited too long to get around to getting my shit together enough to figure out what needed to be done and respond. If you want to help, let me know and forgive me for not getting back to you before. Oh, and if the Rochester guy and the ? mark guy see this, email us again. We are interested.


- We now own (it currently just redirects to the geocities site). We just have to teach ourselves what to fucking do next to make anything fucking show up there. I thought the package included hosting but I apparently still need something. Bah! So in the meantime, I've added the text for our recent trip hunting ghost towns (photos are being developed, but we don't have room for them now anyway). We have a couple of other trips ready to post, as well, as soon as there is room for them (still stuck with that 15 meg limit). And we sitll have to put up all those pics of the West Bank tailraces from 12/00 ... oye vey. Stay tuned, we're losing our minds. It might be fun to watch. Any tech heads out there want to lend some advice? We're stuck ....


- Fuck. Geocities gives you 15 megs of space. We're now out of room, thanks to Action Squad's commitment to bringing you entire assloads of photos. Moving to our own domain is being considered. In the meantime, a few of the huge map files will be moved off site or taken down to make room for future updates ( I have a lot of photos still waiting to be scanned and uploaded, etc). But for now, I squeezed in about a dozen really awesome new pics of the NSP tunnels system ... especially the actual plant itself. Five excursions to document this area failed, due to suddenly dead cameras and camera batteries, running out of film, and in one memorable case, a camera falling into the water and exploding. I was convinced we were cursed and that some ghost really did NOT want us taking pictures. But now we've finally succeeded. Fuck you, ghost! Action Squad wins! The pictures rule. Go check them out here (they are the black and white ones down the right side).

(older updates have been lost)