March 7, 1917 – Old Wallace Stack is Being Torn Down

Old Landmark, 204 feet High, Has Been Standing Since Year 1875

Work of demolishing the old Wallace stack, 204 feet high and over forty years old, was begun yesterday. The old landmark, said to be the highest stack in the State, a record which it easily held at the time it was erected in 1875, will be razed to make room for the extensive building operations planned by the American Brass Co. F. B. Hills has charge of the work of dismantling the historic stack.

Yesterday Tony Froliger climbed to the top of the stack and began the work and he planted an American flag on the peak. This attracted a lot of attention as all who saw it knew that someone had climbed to the top, and to many who knew that the stack was doomed it meant that the work of tearing it down had begun. There is an iron cap on top and this was built in sections, some of the sections being removed yesterday.

The stack was one of the wonders of the town when it was put up in 1875. It is 204 feet high, fourteen feet square at the base an ten feet square at the top. From the base it runs up straight about forty feet the same size as the base and then begins to taper towards the top. There are easily 500,000 bricks in the stack.

To Destroy Clock

The massive clock, which measures about eight feet in diameter, and which for years told the correct time to many people, is to be demolished with the stack. No special provision is to be made for the clock. When the part of the stack which contains the clock is reached the clock will be allowed to drop to the ground and this will be the end of it. This clock did great service for years, though it has not run for the past several years, it used to be illuminated at night and was standard time for the town.

The stack was in use from the time it was built up to last Saturday night. It was originally built as a flue for the boilers that supplied steam for power in the various Wallace shops. At other times since its erection it has also done service as a flue for the old casting shop. Its last use was for the boilers that gave power and heat to parts of the mill. It has no further use now, however, as the new power house erected at the A. B. & C. branch, just south of the present power house, will supply all the power. Until last Saturday night the stack had given continuous service since 1875.

Watching Workmen

The tearing down of the old stack is being watched with much interest. Workmen  began it in earnest today. Those watching from a distance could see the hammers swing and then almost as another blow was struck they would hear the sound of the first blow, the sound waves traveling very slowly towards the ground.

Notes: Wallace & Sons brass foundry was started by Thomas Wallace in 1848. It was absorbed by the Coe Brass Company in 1896, which was in turn absorbed into the American Brass Company in 1899. The Wallace smokestack was located off Liberty Street. This smokestack was probably the tallest manmade structure (not including radio towers) ever erected in the Valley. Thomas Wallace’s son William (1825-1904) performed numerous experiments with carbon arc lighting. One of his most famous experiments involved illuminating a carbon arc light on top of this smokestack late at night. The entire town was flooded with light – supposedly it was bright enough to read a newspaper from as far away as Division Street. Thomas Edison actually visited William in 1878, purchased some carbon arc lights, and later cited him as one of his inspirations to develop the  incandescent light.