Save The Smokestack

Some may think that is is a Friday fun post on Monday but it is not.  My neighbors, and our City Council Rep, Dave Thune, all know that I am serious about this.  I started talking about it in late 2005 when I learned that there would be a new power plant.  I sent an email to Ed Johnson of the Fort Road Federation suggesting that we keep the stack, or that we at least consider it.  We don’t own it Xcel energy does, but our city has a great deal of influence over river front development.

The old coal burning highbride plant will soon be replaced with a gas burning power plant.  As a result the old plant will be demolished.  I would like to see the stack from the plant saved.  Why would I care about a smokestack?  Why not?  We preserve grain elevators and tiny homes that were built in the mid 1800’s why would we demolish a landmark?  The stack is 556 feet tall and can be seen for miles.  It is also a home for the peregrine falcons. (See the live cam)

Peregrine falcons are most at home high in the sky, where they "skydive" for prey. By installing  nest boxes at a height of  300- 600 feet above the ground, they created an environment similar to the high cliffs they prefer.

Bodie_lighthouse Millions of dollars were used to save, move and preserve the Cape Hatteras Light house, and it does not look all that different from our smokestack.  With a little paint we could achieve the same effect.

I understand why people don’t get all excited about saving a smokestack but I think we should consider it.  Once the plant is removed the land will be green space.  No one would dream of demolishing the vacant Island station plant just up river.

As for much of the rest of the power plant I don’t imagine anyone will miss it too much.  Personally I will be happy when the coal piles are gone.  A couple of years ago on a windy day the coal dust got into our house making me wonder how much coal dust we have inhaled over last 25 years, and why in a state where everything is illegal no one talks about the health hazards associated with living near a coal pile.


I have a neighbor who admits that he finds the blinking red light on the top of the stack comforting.  I can relate and have been known to sit on the back porch at night and watch the lights blink on and off.

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9 Replies to “Save The Smokestack”

  1. Good for you Teresa to make your views known on this. Up here in Canada (which incidentally is HOT today!), we too have grain elevators, railway stations, heritage buildings and such that represent comforts of home in a way. They are part of who we are and demolishing them takes away a piece of our identity. Not to mention, fills up landsfill sites unnecessarily too.

  2. Andrew Hine says:

    Save the Stack!

    A Hine

  3. Teresa Boardman says:

    Andrew, great to see you weigh in on this. I guess the stack has been here as long as I can remember and I think it should stay. They don’t build them like that any more. I talked to Dave Thune about it today. You could mention it as well.

    Marg – you sound like you get it. The stack is a piece of our identity and I have lived in it’s shadow for almost 26 years. It is how we find out way home. šŸ™‚

  4. how’s the salmon fishing up there?

  5. Teresa- Georgetown once has a smoke stack- well it still has the smoke stack- but now it’s surrounded by an ultra-exclusive Ritz Carlton where a room starts at $699/night.

    Old smoke stack:

    The smoke stack was kept as “historic” but fancy hotel:

  6. It never occurred to me that the stack might be saved even if the rest of the plant is demolished. I think it is a great landmark and a beautiful piece of engineering. In a hundred years our descendents will be better able to understand the physical (and economic) world of their forebears if we are able to keep this.

  7. Teresa, my family vacationed every summer at Cape Hatteras and my mom, the artist, has a very nice drawing of the lighthouse next to the ocean that she did in the early 80’s. I haven’t been back since they moved the lighthouse, but I am very glad they saved it. Just so you know, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse has spiral stipes. The one pictured is the Bodie Island lighthouse. I always got them confused as a child and my dad constantly quized me on which one was which. This was a great post!

  8. I once climbed to the top of that stack
    i can’t bear to see it gone.
    i worked there over the last summer of 07 as a intern and got to climb to the top of it was really cool and hard work but i bet if they keep it they could have turs up there.
    you can see all the way to Minneapolis from the top i think on a clear day you can see for miles and miles well its a though lets keep it i say its a yes to save the stack

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