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Abandoned World War II Munitions Factory - Rosemount, MN

Dear Diary,
Located off County Road 46 in Rosemount sits an old, abandoned munitions factory that the government had annexed during World War II. The decaying structures rise above the overgrowth like eerie reminders of a time long since passed.

(Snow covers the land once known as Gopher Ordinance Works.)

The by-products of weapons were made here ... that were likely sent off to war in the European and Pacific Theaters ... that likely killed people.

To have this connection so close to where I raise my children is chilling, and try as I might not to think like that, the thoughts still strike me just the same.

I pull over on the side of the road. With my keys in my pocket, and my long lens attached to my trusty Canon, I exit my car. I walk as far as I am able, banned to go any further than 20 steps because of the NO TRESPASSING signs that guarantee a ticket and possible arrest if I let my curiosity get the best of me.

I use my long lens like a telescope, which allows my vision to get closer to the ruins than my body ever could. These are the images I’ve captured:

In 1943 the U.S. government took control of 12,000 acres of farmland located south of Minneapolis. By the time the munitions plant was up and running, the end of the War was 7 months away (and another reason why I try to shake the aforementioned morbid thoughts from my head - the timeline of this site is quite short). Two years later, the land was deeded to the University of Minnesota, and since then, it’s been used mostly for academic and agricultural research.

Known today as UMore Park, there are portions that have been opened to the public as park land and trails, but the structures themselves are strictly off limits. (Why?) From the road, you can see the rows and rows of cement columns wrapped in ceramic, the large concave supports, the dismantled storage tanks, and in the distance, four ominous venting towers shaped like gun barrels.

It stands, because no one knows what to do with it. Both the U and the Army Corps of Engineers have completed assessments on the land, but the results are mixed. Some of the land has received the approval for possible development, while others haven’t. (Again, why?)

Either way, nothing has happened so the war factory continues to cast its haunting shadow.

Note: If you’re going to check out a location or abandoned building, it is imperative to obey the posted signage. Satisfying your curiosity is not worth the creation of a rap sheet.


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      Thank you for reading and commenting cdiane.

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  4. Excellent blog Bri. A coworker was telling me about this today (about the munitions and tanks being parked there). And I searched Facebook and the internet for photos - nothing came up at first. Then I found you wonderful blog with pics. I have also been looking for old photos of Eagan, Burnsville, Rosemount etc. Let me know if there are any site or Facebook groups for that. For those that are curious, pictures of old Minneapolis can be found here:

    1. Thank you for reading, and for sharing the link!