St. Paul stack to be blown up


…. or down…

Xcel Energy announced today it’s going to implode the big smokestack at its High Bridge generating plant on Saturday morning. The stack has been one of the skyline features of St. Paul since 1923. It isn’t needed anymore because the plant no longer burns coal.

The news will disappoint a few people. St. Paul Real Estate blog writer Teresa Boardman, for example, wrote eloquently on the subject last fall:

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.

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.

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.

  • Alison

    This could be fun to watch! What time is going down?

  • I am so bummed. I will be running some posts this week about the smoke stack.

  • Bob Collins

    7:30 a.m. is showtime.

  • 7:30 huh? That’s awfully early for a Saturday, but I think it might be worth getting up for.

    Any ideas on the best vantage point to watch the destruction? I was thinking the high bridge on the opposite bank would give a good view. The north side of the bridge would probably be good, but maybe a little too close? Lilydale Park would probably have a nice view as well.

  • Tyler Suter

    My dad has complained for years about the lack of appreciation for historic architecture in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis especially) – epecially during visits to Chicago where there’s an abundance of old brick buildings – and I’m assuming this will only fan the flame. It would be nice to one day have structural landmarks around the city to share with my children as apposed to commerative plaques, but I guess I haven’t really heard Xcel’s side of the story; probably wouldn’t take much imagination. I will miss the stack’s silouette as you cross the Smith Bridge in failing light.

  • bsimon

    Like Tyler’s dad, I’m a bit miffed at the callousness with which old architecture is treated. More should be repurposed rather than replaced.

    But a smokestack?


  • c

    if the stack was kept-wouldn’t it make an awesome canvas for tagging?….

  • [[SIGH]] The stack loomed over my home since I moved to the neighborhood in 1982. Sadly, pre-dawn tomorrow is my last gaze at it’s red flashing lights as I enjoy my coffee on my back porch.