Smokestack Demolition: Pre-Bid Conference
Cowellian Blog - February 17, 2009

Today was the Pre-Bid conference for contractors interested in demolishing the smokestack.
Pre-Bid Conference Glenn Granada, Senior Project Manager for Swinerton Management & Consulting, along with Cowell Homeowners Association Directors, and members of Cowell’s Smokestack Committee discussed the demolition project with twenty-three firms that showed up to get more information about the project.
project-managementThe bids are due at 2:00 pm on March 10th.  It will not be based just on the lowest priced bid, but rather a combination of price, safety, timeliness, and impact on the homeowners.  Apparently, the City has already nixed the idea of blowing it up, which would exclude a Vegas-style implosion.  That’s a shame, because I know we could sell tickets to see that.
After the discussion, we were allowed to tour the site of the demolition.   Fellow Claycordian, Apollo Idol Prudence and I tagged along along and took a bunch of pictures.  Apollo has a better camera than I do, and you can see his pictures on Claycord:  http://claycord.blogspot.com/2009/02/cowell-smokestack-inside-history.html.

Cowellian  

Here are some shots that I took:

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Happy (final) Birthday to the Smokestack
Cowellian Blog -- 2 May 2009

This week marks 73 years since the Cowell Smokestack was first used, on May 1, 1936. I guess it’s no surprise that it’s not in the condition it once was, and it’s virtually certain that it won’t see another anniversary.
It was originally built because the Cowell Portland Cement Company lost a lawsuit to local farmers over cement dust. The smokestack only did its intended job for 10 years, since Cowell shut down operations in 1946, after 38 years of operation.
Since then, the Smokestack has served primarily as a landmark for central Contra Cost County, dwarfed only by Mt. Diablo, and visible for many miles. I liked having a landmark in my backyard, and my kids grew up playing at its base. And when it’s gone, we are going to miss it.
For a more detailed history of the Smokestack, read Bill Larkin’s excellent narrative:
A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE CEMENT PLANT AND TOWN OF COWELL
And so, for one last time, Happy Birthday to the Smokestack!

Cowellian  

Going-Away Party/Town Hall Meeting
Cowellian Blog -- 20 May 2009

town-hall-meetingLast night, the Cowell Homeowners Association hosted a Town Hall Meeting and a Going-Away Party for the Smokestack. Concord’s Mayor, Laura Hoffmeister, was in attendance, and there were a couple of real photographers there. The Contra Costa Times was noticeable only by its absence.
Bill Larkins was there with his wife, Tillie Perez Larkins. Tillie worked at the Cowell Portland Cement plant and lived in the Town of Cowell. She brought her pillow made from a cement sack. Bill gave a fascinating a slide-show presentation with pictures from the plant and town.
Mark Weinmann represented the Board of Directors, and did an outstanding job of describing how we got to the point where we are ready to remove a landmark. He explained why the smokestack needs to be removed, how the contractors were selected, what the demolition process will entail, and what we’ll be left with, once all is said and done.

Cowellian  

Town Hall Meeting/Going-Away Party

Town Hall Meeting/Going-Away Party

Town Hall Meeting/Going-Away Party

Town Hall Meeting/Going-Away Party

The preparation continues
Cowellian Blog — 15 June 2009

smokestackThe site looks like it’s ready for the work to start. After the metal plates were laid to protect underground utilities, a gravel road was put in, allowing heavy equipment to make it over the hill to Lawson Ct.  On Monday morning, they will bring in the crane, and the demolition will start on Tuesday.

Cowellian  

 

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparing for Smokestack Demolition

Preparation for Demolition

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