The Lower Level

the smokestack from the lower level

As we neared the edge of the second level, we looked down across a zone of destruction. The lower level was a mess, a tangle of concrete, reinforcing bars, steel beams, cables, and any other industrial material you could think of. There were no obvious foundations, or walls, or pedestals, or anything. Only a flat slab of concrete fighting to breath through a tangles mess of ruin could be discerned. It was as if the entire upper and middle floors were raked down onto the lower level and forgotten – a real mess.

the wall detail between floors

Getting down there was a bit difficult. Unlike the change from the upper two levels, there was a good ten to twelve feet difference between the level we were on and this lower level. Moving along the edge of the precipice we discovered a third level squeezed between the one were on and the lower floor. Less a level really and more of a concrete pedestal about half way up the wall a good six feet. There were four of them, and they seemed evenly spaced across the building. They seemed to once support some sort of machinery, covered in concrete pedestals and various metal connection points. Dropping down to them, we quickly dropped the rest of the way to the building floor.

looking down from the “sub-level” above the mill floor

There wasn’t much to see down here. You could tell that you were standing on the mill floor, and could make out a collection of roof support posts – now stubs cut off about knee high. If the last step of the stamp process were the Wifley tables, this would be what we could expect. Sometimes called the “wet floor”, this area would contain the final detail work so to speak. The Wifley tables themselves were made of wood and would have rotted away long ago, and their small size and light construction would have made a concrete pedestal unnecessary.

a tangle of debris on the lower level

a possible footing for a roof support

We were, however, able to find remnants of what could have been the launders used to remove the waste rock to the sands beyond us. Lying across the floor in parallel lines, were “troughs” in the floor running perpendicular to the far wall. Although seemingly not running downhill, a slight grade in the floor of the building would have probably been sufficient to move the sand/water mixture out the back.

the possible launder along the floor of the mill

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