Stella Cheese Factory

“The Stella Cheese Company began its life from a small farm factory in Lake Nebagamon Wisconsin in 1917. The company soon expanded, setting up plants throughout northern Wisconsin. Around 1933 the company began to open plants in the Upper Peninsula, one in Mass City and another in a series of abandoned mine buildings at the old Baltic Mine location. The factory at Baltic operated for another 30 years, serving as a vital employer for over a hundred local residents while the mines surrounding it systematically closed down. Unfortunately, dwindling milk supplies in Michigan in the 60′s forced the plant to close as well and the company to contract its operations back to Wisconsin. For the next 30 years the plant lay derelict and abandoned, and has been all but forgotten by local historians.”

Putting the Pieces Together…

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The Stella Cheese Factory? Before leaving the Stella Cheese Factory behind for good, there’s still one last mystery that I feel the need to explore. It has been said that when Stella moved into Baltic it made the decision to take advantage of the already existing infrastructure that the mine …

A Look Into the Past…

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Now that our exploration of the Stella Cheese Factory is complete, its time to take a step back and look at all that we have discovered. After exploring nearly a dozen rooms of these vast ruins I feel I can make an educated guess on just how the building was …

The Wax Room and Cooler

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Moving down the hallway past the stairs down to the basement we entered yet another room in the vast ruins we call the Stella Cheese Factory. This one featured a series a set of windows on its south wall and a series of openings along its west, one of which …

Boiler Room and More

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As with any smokestack, the Stella Cheese Factory’s stack was required to draw combustion gases up and out of the building. In the case of mine buildings, this combustion was used heat a boiler in the production of steam to feed the mine’s various steam engines. While the Stella plant …

The Cheese Room (and cars)

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Heading west out of the collection of vat rooms we had been exploring we pass under a gabled wall of sandstone which looks to have once been a mine building. Passing through the doorway we immediately noticed a change in building materials – and found ourselves in a very familiar …

The Upper Vat Rooms

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Making our way up the stairs from the lower level upwards we find ourselves walking up into the bright sunshine of day – as the room we entered was missing its roof. Just like the rooms below, this one also featured a collection of concrete tubs. But unlike the lower …

The Lower Vat Rooms

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The cheese making process can be broken down into four basic steps: curdling, drying, pressing, and ripening. With the addition of specific bacteria and a natural enzyme found in cow’s stomachs called rennin, milk is allowed to curdle in large vats. During the curdling process the milk separates into a …

The Stella Cheese Factory

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When we had first stumbled across the vast complex of ruins we weren’t sure what we had discovered – but had assumed it was connected with the Baltic Mine in some manner due to its location. (check out our first exploration of the ruins HERE) It sure appeared to come …

The House

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For so long have we been dwelling in the realm of industry and infrastructure here at Baltic that we have failed to appreciate a more humanized angle. For all we know these sandstone walls and concrete foundations could have been built by giants, aliens, or Gods – anything but the …

An Industrial Complex

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Sitting up the hill from the No. 3 shaft stand an impressive collection of sandstone and brick – a series of buildings we like to call the complex. At first glance it appeared to be one large building made up of a hodgepodge of hastily constructed additions. Upon closer examination …