|Mineral Research Resource Center|
|(Click on the pictures to see them full size)|
|First explored: sometime in 1997
Members: Max Action, Eyeball, Rattfink, Tommy Vermin, and Rafe
Latest trip: 12/1/00
Members: Max Action and Blue Murder
When putting up the Action Squad website, I realized that we had only a few random photos of old trips to this structure, and none of them gave any sense of how awesome the place was. So, three years after our last explorations of the MRRC, Action Squad returned to get some photos. Sadly, even the new photos don't do the place justice, as an automatic camera with standard flash is rather inadequate for capturing vast, unlit spaces. Oh well. We're adventurers, not photographers, damn it!
Anyway, the MRRC was at one time the main research facility in the development of processes for mining taconite. It is a much larger building than it seems to be from the outside, and is full of awesome shit; most or all of the original machinery, furniture, and files were left inside when it was abandoned. At some point, a group of vandals sacked the place, tipping over file cabinets, smashing equipment, breaking internal windows, and just generally trashing everything. After that incident, MRRC was sealed up and left more or less undisturbed until recent years, when the boards over the windows behind the building were compromised. Later spray-paint "artists" have steadily added more and more graffiti to the interior, especially during the three-year period between our latest trips. It is still a great place to explore, however, and no amount of stupid tagging could change that.
On the latest trip, we entered through the shallow level steam tunnels, since the shaft up from the deep levels is murderous and we did not want to crawl into a window on the brightly-lit back side.
The basement is amazing. Although the MRRC is no longer heated, the steam lines for several other buildings run up from the depths and through the basement, and they make an irregular banging sound back near the Hellhole (on the south end). The random noise it makes is nerve-wracking, even after you've identified it as being non-human in origin. The north side, where the shallow steam tunnels connect to the basement, is open all the way up to the ceiling of the structure four stories above, and is where the catwalks and machinery that fill the vast space begin. Along the west wall of the basement, dozens and dozens of old shelves in nooks and small rooms are crammed with ancient electrical equipment, mineral samples, motors, and other interesting debris. Spiral staircases run up into the aboveground portions of the building.
The southernmost part of MRRC consists mainly of laboratories, classrooms, and offices. There are files, maps, books, and the like scattered everywhere. This area, which overall is rather tame compared to the rest of the place, is where you can get up into the attic, and from there, onto the somewhat steep roof. On the first floor, there are several larger laboratory areas littered with beakers, test tubes, chemicals, Bunsen burners, and other tools of the trade. The next area going north is a long, open 2-story space with a peaked roof consisting mainly of gigantic skylights. It is open in the center, with a catwalk running around the sides about 10 feet up. The whole place is crammed with weird devices and large (but not huge) machinery. The northernmost part of the MRRC is my favorite: it is a story higher than the middle section, and has no real floor other than the basement. To get around within this huge space, there are ladders, catwalks, and several iron spiral staircases. The machinery in this area is huge, and features conveyor belts, mixers, and all kinds of large metal devices that I cannot put names to. In the middle of it all is a one-room office where the head honchos used to monitor everything.
Argh; describing this building is impossible: I've already horribly oversimplified its layout, and left out all kinds of points of interest. I wish I could just fall back on "let the photos do the talking," but a lot of them did not turn out good enough to justify posting them here. Let's put it this way: the Mineral Research Resource Center is a huge building absolutely crammed with interesting shit. You could spend hours in there and not even start to get bored. We did.