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Demolition Photos From Early 2000’s

Bill Warner
January 01, 2021
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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.