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Another High Falls Icon Will Come Down… Or not?

February 23rd, 2012

This smokestack which belongs to the old RG&E Bee Bee Station power plant has towered over the High Falls neighborhood since the 1940's. [PHOTO: skyscraperpage.com user: xzmattzx]
Cars parked in the High Falls neighborhood this week got notices slipped under their wiper blades. RG&E will be demolishing the last Beebee Station smokestack sometime within the next six months due to high levels of asbestos contained within the structure.

The tower features the distinctive mark of the High Falls Historic District at the top. Standing watch over the neighborhood since the mid-1900’s, it’s become an icon nearly as recognizable as nearby Kodak Tower or the High Falls themselves.

Two of Beebee Station's three smokestacks were removed in 2007. [FLICKR PHOTO: rlr77]
The Beebee power plant generated power as early as 1900’s and several smokestacks were built in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The plant was shut down in 1999 and RG&E is currently accepting bids from developers to convert the station into mixed-use housing/retail space. Two of the plant’s three smokestacks were removed in 2007.

This news comes as North American Breweries, Inc. is getting set to demolish a 122 year old brewhouse on the opposite side of the river.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: This article previously stated that the notices on parked cars were from RG&E. They were actually from the owner of the lot on Mill Street. RG&E has provided the following statement:

RG&E has not determined whether or not it will demolish that stack at Beebee. But there are other actions we are taking there.
We recently conducted comprehensive internal and external inspections of the stack, and our tests determined that the coating on the outside of the stack contains low levels of asbestos and a trace of lead in the paint. The remainder of that coating is otherwise inert material. Even though at this time we have no indication that this material poses any threat of injury or illness to anyone – we do want to clean it up as quickly and as safely as possible, and are in the process of getting that done.
Our inspection also determined that parts of the top of the stack have deteriorated, and as a precaution, RG&E will be installing netting on the outside of the top 20-30’ of the stack to minimize the potential for debris to fall. To be safe, we’ve also secured the Beebee parking areas and the sidewalk along Mill Street.
Engineering experts are currently evaluating the physical condition of the stack itself and we will make a final decision regarding stack demolition based on the stack inspection results.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 at 11:10 pm and is filed under Rochester News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Another High Falls Icon Will Come Down… Or not?”

  1. Zack says:

    Explains all the surveyor guys, et al. Pic: http://goo.gl/5osYq

  2. Renee says:

    Does that mean someone has proposed a plan for the station (you mentioned RG&E is currently accepting bids), RG&E is trying to make it more attractive to developers or they simply plan to take it down for environmental reasons? I’ve been curious about that facility since we moved here, since it’s on such a great spot in High Falls.

  3. Zack says:

    I think it’s a shame. The last remaining smoke stack is a monument for Rochester’s rich history as an industrial city.

  4. See the Update/Correction posted under the article. RG&E sent us a note on what exactly is going on. We’ll keep an eye on the smokestack 😉

  5. MikeDelaney says:

    After reading this a couple days ago, I finally remembered to take a look on my bus ride to work. It seems like RGE could have at lease used a clear netting and extended it down far enough to cover the whole top section. Aesthetically, it’s really weird having just the word “falls” peaking out. It’s a shame to cover the iconic High Falls logo.

  6. I how was wondering who to contact about getting on the bid lists for environmental work for RG&E. Thanks for your help

  7. @Jacquelyn, I wish I knew who to contact at RG&E. The representative who sent me the statement above about the smokestack is no longer returning my requests for information.

  8. Vicki says:

    Sorry, submitted too soon. Here’s the Wikipedia article about the project that these smokestacks were part of.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Waterfront

    It’s quite the happenin’ place these days, with a multiplex theater, restaurants, hotels, and (if memory serves) some retail. Quite the turnaround for a former post-industrial wasteland.


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