BETHLEHEM, PA. – Sixteen thousand tons of Bethlehem Steel collapsed in a matter of seconds on Sunday when a demolition team dumped imploded buildings, a 21-story monolith that opened at the height of Bethlehem Steel's Martin Tower, the former headquarters of the late steelmaker, but a dozen years ago long empty-handed after the second-largest American steelmaker set up its business 47-year-old building, which, despite its relatively young age, had earned a place in the National Register of Historic Places. The implosion, which lasted 16 seconds, produced a thick cloud of dust that lasted a few minutes.
Tyler Kent, whose father worked for Bethlehem Steel for 46 years and raised 1
I did not think it would affect me that way emotionally, but I just can not imagine it's gone. It's so sad, "said Kent, who could see the tower from his house.
The current owners of the Martin Tower have been trying for years to refurbish the 101-meter-high building – the highest in a densely populated Pennsylvania region. Includes the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton – but concluded that it makes more economic sense to knock them down and start over. Plans envisage a $ 200 million development with doctors' offices, retail stores, a restaurant, a grocery store, a hotel and 528 apartments. The steel is located in the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge and many other landmarks.
The company moved into its new headquarters in 1972, just before the US steel industry entered a severe recession. Bethlehem Steel, which had more than 120,000 employees at the time of the opening of Martin Tower, filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and closed two years later.
For some, the tower, which was cruciform to maximize the number of corner offices, was a symbol of business
"Here was the money the workers never got," said Fran Maiatico, his father at Bethlehem Steel worked. It was among hundreds of people gathered several blocks from the building on Sunday to see how it fell off. He said he linked the building to corporate executives driving Bethlehem Steel into the ground.
But his son, 49-year-old Mike Gentilcore, a former metals researcher from Bethlehem Steel, said, "It breaks my heart," that an important piece of the company's history no longer counts. He remembered looking out the windows of the tower as a child and later working there himself.
"It's the end of an era, and I'll miss it there," he said.
The company's flagship mill in Bethlehem Less than 3 kilometers from the Martin Tower, the hotel was converted into a casino and entertainment center 10 years ago.