9 APRIL 2005

If you are on Highway 52 south of Minneapolis you'll pass through Coates. The main feature that's likely to catch your eye is Jake's Bar (Exotic Dancers!) However, if you glance to the west you'll see some mysterious smoke stacks. They sit there year after year like dinosaurs looming in the distance. Some years ago I finally gave in and checked them out. I saw many strange ghosts and vowed that I'd come back again for a closer look. I always seem to be in a hurry when I'm on Highway 52, either to get to the Twin Cities or get back home. The strangeness of those ghosts grew in my mind over the years, but I kept them there, savoring the mystery. On 9 April 2005 the time was right. It was warm and windy, alternating between clouds and sun, I had some time, and my camera was by my side.

The ghosts are actually closer to Rosemount. There is the Dakota Technical College and a University of Minnesota research site in the area. As I drove down a gravel road I stopped a man that was walking and asked him if he knew anything about them. He said that from what he knows, they are an abandoned World War II munitions factory. Apparently it was not completed when the war ended. Until I find out differently, that's what I'm going with. A factory, from a world war many years ago, decaying as time moves forward. A Dead Place. I am reminded of the story By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benét.

An article about the history of this place from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology is entitled Research Takes Flight at Rosemount. Thanks to John U. for bringing it to my attention.

A New Vision for UMore Park is taking shape. Thanks to Kevin K. for bringing the 30 October 2007 newspaper article to my attention.