Bogdon and Gross furniture factory chimney finally comes down

·2 min read

WALKERTON – For the better part of a century, the chimney at the Bogdon and Gross furniture factory stood, a monument to the Walkerton area’s industrial heyday.

Even weeks after the building that surrounded the hundred-plus-foot stack came down, it remained a landmark.

On Thursday, April 8, a team of demolition people came in to take down the chimney.

By Friday morning, holes had been drilled in the towering structure, and a piece of it had been cut away, for all the world like a massive tree about to be felled. Everything was in place – the path had been mapped out, equipment was at the ready and a plan of action was ready to be executed.

The hill above the site, and the street in front, were crowded with watchers. Some had worked at the factory, or had relatives who had. And some of the watchers had the last name of Bogdon.

Cables were carefully attached to the structure in key locations, and then hooked up to the powerful excavator. And the chimney remained standing.

Throughout the day the holes in the structure were made wider, more bricks removed. Other attempts to bring the structure down snapped the cables. Chains replaced the broken cables, and they snapped, too. The chimney remained standing well into the evening.

Finally, the excavator itself was brought close and chewed away at the weakened structure, removing a few bricks at a time. And suddenly the inevitable happened – in a split second, the chimney tumbled – no drama, very little noise, on the exact path that had been mapped out. Even the cloud of dust was kept to a minimum by watered-down piles of soil.

Now that the chimney is down, the clearing of the site will be completed, in preparation for what will become a large residential development – something the community needs. But memories of the furniture factory that produced fine, heirloom pieces will remain and be celebrated in the continued prosperity of Walkerton.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times