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Toledo Does a Double Demolition of Smokestacks

These old coal stacks hit the ground with a deeply enjoyable whumpf.

Can somebody in Toledo go run a bulldozer into the remaining smokestack shown in the above video? There's just something deeply unsatisfying about seeing two crumple into billowing brick dust, and having the third standing like somebody botched the job.

But this is how the Ohio city's mayor, D. Michael Collins, wanted it. After denigrating the old power-plant smokestacks as something from "Stuttgart, Germany, 1947," he was on the scene Wednesday to oversee their near-complete demolition. The unscathed, 298 foot-tall stack will soon have its top third lopped off, and then if the mayor gets his way will be decorated as a lighthouse, complete with spinning red-and-green lights, because that is better than a boring smokestack.

Back in the day, these sky pipes vomited coal smoke as the plant churned out the electricity that powered the city. While their destruction doesn't have the fear-of-god-instilling concussion of a titanic skyscraper demolition, or the humor of one filmed behind a shredding rock band, the musty brick towers hit the ground with a finality-delivering whumpf that must've been extremely gratifying to the hundreds gathered to gawk.

Here's the view from above of Wednesday's demolition:

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.