OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — People got up bright and early on Sunday morning to watch two tall stacks standing 650 and 420 feet tall meet their fate on the east side of Owensboro.
Owensboro Municipal Utilities imploded the Elmer Smith Station smoke stacks, ending an era.
“Part of me fell with them,” said John Garrett, who worked at the plant in the past.
Garrett worked at the station for nearly 18 years until the plant closed in 2020.
“We worked all the way until they shut the doors,” he said.
Now that the stacks are gone, he is reflecting on the memories.
“This is a place we called home, a second family, to your real families at home. That was our work family and it is a family that I am going to miss,” he said.
Over the years, the stacks became a staple of the Owensboro skyline. Visitors knew they were getting close to Owensboro when they saw them.
“Sometimes we would have people who have never been there before. They would go to Tamarack to where the office was and they would say ‘I think I am in the wrong spot.’ I would say look for the stacks, that is all you gotta do,” Garrett said.
Crows flooded nearby restaurants and businesses with good vantage points to watch the implosion unfold. Some said they felt the rumbling miles away.
Those nearby heard sirens before and after the implosion, and the Owensboro Police Department blocked of Highway 144.
“This event changed the landscape and skyline to date. We are just appreciative of the work our employees have dove over the past 60 or so years,” said Tim Lyons, the OMU general manager.
Officials said they plan to demolish the rest of the plant piece by piece. They said that eventually the plot of land will be turned into grass or covered in gravel.