This won’t be any good, but it will make us rich.
So to speak.
As we recently reported, a big chunk of one of the historic B.F. Goodrich smokestacks will be trimmed down because its deterioration has turned it into a safety hazard.
The city is going to knock off the top 100 feet of the northernmost of the two towers, eliminating the white paint that says “GOOD” but keeping the “RICH.”
The impending partial demise of the century-old stack has saddened more than a few readers. One wrote a letter to the editor urging a fund drive to preserve the entire stack, and promised to make the first donation.
Sorry, but that just isn’t going to happen.
The city estimates that securing the stack at its present height would require more than $1 million. And even then the fix would be only temporary. Hard to argue that many dollars would be worth it, even given the stack’s stature as a piece of Akron history.
Another reader had a much more modest suggestion.
Bob: Indeed we pass into another era with the downsizing of a BFG smokestack.
For about 20 years I watched smoke plume out of those smokestacks in the ’40s and ’50s when I lived on Bell Street and in South Akron. I don’t miss the smoke nowadays, but the stacks are still a sight to see. I’m getting my camera out for the last photo.
Maybe some enterprising person/company could collect the bricks from the demolished stack and sell them as mementos of days gone by? Give them away at Canal Park when a ticket is bought?
Great minds think alike, Paul.
“We are discussing the possibility of selling some of the bricks being removed, and, if we can work out the logistics, it looks like that may happen,” says Ellen Lander Nischt, press secretary for Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan.
“I talked to the demolition contractor (Eslich) early on and told them we wanted as many bricks salvaged as possible.”
Eslich told her it plans to place some of the bricks down inside the remaining portion of the stack to help stabilize it before it’s capped.
“But,” she adds, “there should still be plenty of bricks left over for us to work with.”
She also told the contractor to save as many of the painted bricks — the ones that spell out GOODRICH — as possible, figuring (correctly) that those would be the most appealing.
“We also discussed possibly turning some over to an artist or builder who could give the bricks a useful or beautiful ‘second life’ as reclaimed materials.
“Anyway, no specific details of the plan to report, but know that we are on it.”
So when will the first brick come tumbling down? Depends on the weather.
On Friday, Eslich said its workers are in a holding pattern because of the cold and wind. When the forecast calls for an extended window of milder weather, they’ll swing into action.
Meanwhile, former Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth has been trying to secure a grant to light up the stacks, a concept that City Hall completely supports.
Notes Nischt, “[The mayor] deeply appreciates the history of those stacks and what they represent. But safety comes first.
“Luckily, we aren’t in a position where we have to remove both of them completely.”
Nischt volunteered that City Hall is “more than willing” to take suggestions from the public about what should be done with the bricks.
So fire away, folks. I’ll be happy to sort through suggestions sent to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and print the best ones.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31.