I love any demolition pictures. You know what they say, “a picture is worth a 1000 words,” so, I will not be saying much. It is difficult to remember what a mess this place was, added on spaces to other added on buildings. What a mess. I’ll bet there were several places where employees could hide for a couple hours.
Each of these four pictures is of the area at the rear of Coppes Commons where the quilt garden is now located. Doesn’t look the same does it?
In picture No. 1 you can see a couple employee cars (remember, the factory never shut down). They are parked in the area where Lincoln St. is now located. What you can discern from this picture is that the buildings look unused and abandoned with trees beginning to grow next to the buildings. There are several items you can easily make out in this picture.
A single truck loading dock with blue colored cushions to prevent cold air blowing in to the buildings. (How old do you think the tree growing in front of the loading dock is?).
Also, there are two saw dust bins. One is at the right of the picture and a much larger “silo” model at the left. That big toy spinning top looking thing on the top of the silo is called a “dust cyclone”. The cyclone allows the dust to be separated from the fast moving air by having the heavier particles (sawdust) spin around the larger inside diameter of the bin and then fall into the silo while the clean air is blown out the exit. Early on in the history of the company, they burned sawdust and scrap wood cutoffs in the boilers.
Still located next to the two original boilers is a machine referred to as “the Hog” that ground up scrap wood and blew it directly into the boilers to burn. When the company ceased burning sawdust has not been determined. As Coppes Historian, that information is something I would like to know. My guess is that the company stopped burning sawdust when they switched from steam engine powered line shaft machines to individual electric motors on the machines.
Individual electric motors meant less need for steam from the boilers to power the steam engine, which powered the line shafts, which turned the machines. Wow, talk about cause and effect. I want to be clear, burning scrap wood cutoffs and burning sawdust is different. Scrap wood will burn “better,” making more heat than sawdust.
At this time (when this silo was built) in the factory’s production, they were making more sawdust than they wanted or needed. Basically, by then, they only needed the boilers to heat the buildings in the winter by sending steam in the heating pipes. What I’m trying to say is that they needed to store and then eliminate the sawdust, which is the reasons for the sawdust silos. I would hope they sold it to area farmers as animal bedding, not landfill.
Picture No. 2 shows the first layer of debris removed, exposing some of the smaller buildings that were behind the trees in the first picture. The sawdust silo is still there, and I can’t be sure, but it looks as if sawdust is spilling out of a gaping hole in the silo on the lower left side. Do you see the smaller BOBCAT excavator near the base of the silo? Also, the elevator that was used to load trucks with sawdust. Is the big excavator operator thinking “what do I want to attack next?”
Two reference points I want to point out: the brick corner (right side) is the outside wall where we found the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler sign painted on the bricks. On the lower left side is the cement colored corner of the coal bin (still there). Coppes kept coal on hand in case of emergencies, or if they needed extra heat & power from the boilers.
Picture No. 3 shows the inside corner of the back side of Coppes Commons almost as we know it today. Looks like the demo team has brought in equipment to begin removing the large sawdust silo. This picture gives it a larger scale than before. New windows and doors and the place will look like new. Well, I guess there was a little brick work to repair. On the end of the white painted brick building, you can see two of the fire doors that were throughout the old factory. These heavy doors were hung on an angled track, when a fire got hot enough to melt the safety chain link the door would roll closed by the force of gravity, with the idea of stopping the spread of the fire. Each of these doors are made up of metal covered hard wood and weigh several hundred pounds each.
As it looked like last week. Big difference, huh?