Your Favorite Columnist has in his possession a chunk of concrete from the original League Park (first home of the Cleveland Indians) and another chunk of concrete from the late, great Richfield Coliseum.
I have no idea why. I’ve moved both chunks from one house to another house to a third and never once displayed them. Who wants to look at jagged pieces of concrete?
Old bricks are a bit more aesthetically pleasing, though, so maybe the folks who are pining for a souvenir from one of the old B.F. Goodrich smokestacks are smarter than I am.
As we reported the other day, a big portion of one of the historic stacks 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 elderly stack has saddened more than a few area residents. But the city estimates that securing the stack at its present height would require more than $1 million. And even then the fix would only be temporary.
So the GOOD is definitely gone, but we don’t know exactly where those bricks will wind up. Some will be placed around the interior bottom of the stack to help shore it up before it’s capped. But the city has told the contractor to save a lot of them.
Because City Hall is open to suggestions, I tossed out the question in a previous column. Got plenty of responses. These were among the best.
Bob: My father worked over 20 years at B.F. Goodrich. I would gladly and proudly pay $75 for a brick to be engraved with my dad’s name and placed on a walkway alongside the names of other hardworking men and women from Goodrich to honor the noble working history of our town.
Bob: I have plans to add some short brick columns at the end of my driveway. I wanted to match the brick of my house, but using the Goodrich bricks would be great. If you find they will sell some of them, I’d like to buy as many as I can.
Bob: I would like a brick fireplace in my backyard! Seriously, I would buy some. My grandfather Nick Biasella worked there for 45 years. He loved that company.
Bob: As interested as I am in purchasing one of the “GOOD” bricks from the soon-to-be-shortened smokestacks, I’m not sure what I’d do with it. So instead of selling them off, how about rebuilding/restacking the bricks somewhere in the city? Over the fence in Canal Park? Part of the new Lock 4 development? Somewhere over by the “new” East Market Street?
Bob: Suggestion for possible use of the remaining Goodrich bricks: Ask celebrities from the Akron area — say, “That Kid from Akron,” Chrissie Hynde, Mark Mothersbaugh, the Black Keys and perhaps also some of our favorite local journalists — to autograph (assuming these bricks can be signed) and then either sell or auction off these collector’s items to the public with the proceeds going to worthy local charities.
IS THIS WORKABLE?
One reader thinks we may be getting a lot more excited about the possibilities than is justified.
Bob: Please note that smokestack bricks are generally not reuseable nor suitable for mementos. Smokestack brick, also known as radial brick, are cored with holes which allows the mortar to key into the bricks. Removal with the intent of salvaging this type of brick is very costly.
In addition, some bricks could be contaminated due to exposure from many years of burning coal.
Many bricks will be damaged beyond use if the chimney is wrecked from the top down and the bricks are simply dropped to the chimney interior, rather than the more costly method of lowering bricks down from the top of the stack.
I can’t imagine that the smokestack will be demolished by lowering the brick down rather than simply dropping the brick down the inside.
Given that bricks are not within my extremely limited areas of expertise, I asked the city whether this fellow was onto something.
Mayor Press Secretary Ellen Lander Nischt responded via email: “The bricks that line the interior (which are actually more like tiles) are the ones that would have been exposed to chemicals and smoke, so we don’t plan to salvage those.
“The exterior bricks [ranging from two to four rows deep] would not have been directly exposed to smoke, so they shouldn’t raise those same concerns. ...
“Demolition will essentially be done by hand [using a] crane-hoisted cup with a manway platform around the perimeter. That cup with contractor employees will be lowered inside the stack and the brick will be removed course-by-course and thrown into the cup.
“We anticipate having a pallet of bricks salvaged.”
That’s only 500 bricks. Which means the 13 trillion readers who suggested using the Goodrich bricks to build Trump’s wall are out of luck.
TONGUE IN CHEEK
What, you didn’t think this issue would draw comedians?
Bob: Build a memorial to commemorate the Bowling Green Massacre.
Dan E. Moldea
Bob: Use them as a facade for the old Cathedral of Tomorrow radio/restaurant tower. Then convert it into the world’s tallest BBQ smoke pit.
Bob: Build a wall ... around the Beacon. Trust me, in a few years you’ll thank me.
Bob: When the Hoover stack was being dismantled for repair, I was going by and it said “OVER.” How appropriate.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31