UC Smokestack Gone in a Puff

A small crowd of onlookers gathered on Saturday, April 5, to watch a piece of University of Cincinnati history topple to its side, raising both sighs and cheers from those watching.

The UC “Smokestack,” part of old West Campus utility plant built in 1910, fell at about 9 a.m.  The brick-and-terra cotta tower was pulled down by means of selective demolition and cables attached to the structure.  The cables were pulled by a nearby back hoe, and the smokestack fell easily as it had previously been sawed in half though left standing until last Saturday.

UC Landscape Architect Len Thomas was among those who mourned the tower.  “It was sad to watch it go,” said Thomas, who collected a few pieces of the tower after it had fallen.  “It was all over in a split second…All I have now are a few fragments of history, but that’s better than nothing,” he added.

UC Photographer Lisa Ventre likened watching the tower’s fall to watching “a chess piece coming down…the rook.” 

Smokestack's downfall

Smokestack's downfall

Indeed, the stack’s destruction is just one move in the ongoing plan to remake campus as a greener, more livable, unified whole.  That

Master Plan

to radically transform living and learning at UC was set in motion in 1989.  And, as part of that plan, UC’s old power plant, located in the heart of West Campus, was replaced by a new utility plant located at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. 

The fall of the smokestack is part of ongoing demolition of the old West Campus utility plant, Laurence Hall and the former bookstore which began in January of this year.  These changes will make way for a new 350,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center.  Construction on the new Rec Center will begin in June 2003 and the new facility will include housing, classrooms, a convenience store and dining area as well as fitness facility that features a juice bar, climbing wall, lap pool, leisure pool, fitness and weight area, racquetball courts, gym with basketball courts and a suspended running track.


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