Historic St. Paul Smokestack Crumbles in Planned Demolition

Updated: 03/16/2014 5:59 PM
Created: 03/16/2014 3:28 PM
By: Kate Renner

An old St. Paul power plant turned to rubble Sunday.

The historic riverfront building, Island Station power plant, was built in the 1920s, but it's been vacant for decades.

Sunday was demolition day as more than 100 charges brought the steel and concrete structure down.

The voices behind the 3-2-1 countdown came from three sweet girls, Eric Kelly's daughters. Kelly, the Vice President of Advanced Explosive Demolition, says their cheerful countdown brings comfort in the midst of chaos. He calls his girls the "Dynamite Divas."

"(They have) done so many countdowns, where if I don't hear (their) voice, it's like I don't pay attention," said Kelly.

In response to the question of what it's like for his daughter Eliya as she waits to see the building crumble to the ground, she said, "You just say in your head, 'Please Lord, make it fall, make it fall, make it fall, please fall."

Eliya's prayers were answered. According to Eric Kelly, this demolition came out better than they ever expected.

More than 100 charges turned all 280 feet of the former power plant into a pile of mangled steel, no higher than 20 feet.

Two local drone enthusiasts, Tom Lawrence of Eden Prairie and Scott Ferrozzo of Jordan, shot video using what they call "Octocopters."

"It's just something as a hobbyist that we could put our crafts up in the air and capture video and share with others," said Tom Lawrence.

The clean-up should take Frattalone Companies until mid-April. In that time they have to haul off all of the steel for recycling, crunch all of the concrete, and fill in the holes in the ground.

They will also plant seeds, so the property begins to look more like the nature surrounding it.

At this point, the property owners don't have any plans for the future of the site.

Watch raw video of the demolition here.



Minneapolis/St. Paul

37° | 24°
  • Feels like: 21° F
  • Wind: WSW 8mph
  • Humidity: 49%
  • Sat Mix of sun and clouds
    36° | 24°
  • Sun Sunny
    38° | 24°
  • Mon Mainly sunny
    46° | 30°
  • Tue Abundant sunshine
    48° | 36°