The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

December 8, 2012

Ashtabula High School chimney stack to come down next week

ASHTABULA — A landmark since Ashtabula High School was built in 1915, the chimney stack was scheduled to come down Friday, marking the last stage of the demolition.

A handful of spectators gathered along West 44th Street at 8 a.m. ready to watch a crane that was brought in to knock the stack down, to no avail.

Come to find out, the crane wasn’t big enough for the job, an unidentified worker from ProQuality Land Development said.

It will take a bigger crane to demolish the sky-high structure — something the crane operator didn’t realize until he arrived on-site Friday morning, he said.

Now, it looks like it will be Monday or Tuesday morning, school officials said.

The demolition job, including landscaping the lot, should be done by the end of the month. Several months ago, the school board awarded the demolition job to ProQuality for $365,000.

As the demolition progressed, many alumni have stopped to grab a brick or two for sentimental value.

The bricks bear the trademark SBCO and SBC.o., and are from the Stuyvesant Brick Co. in Stuyvesant, N.Y., in the up-river district on the Hudson River, according to Elke Wellmann, who graduated from Ashtabula High School in 1959, and took time to research the bricks.

It was the largest brick-making region in the world, with 130 manufacturers employing 7,000 to 8,000 workers, she said.

Hundreds of brick-making factories existed from the late 1700’s to 1940’s, but the industry stopped in 2002, she said.

“During the last Ice Age in the Hudson Valley area, blankets of ice, weighing millions of tons crushed the rocks of many mountains into a deposit of flour-textured, rich blue clay,” Wellmann said. “This material came to rest in the bays and coves of the newly carved Hudson River.”

In 1928, test borings made in the Hudson off the Coffer Dam in southern Haverstraw, drilled 100 feet deep and still did not drill through the clay.

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