Sunday, April 14, 2013

El Paso's ASARCO stacks, before and after

The American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) plant has a long and troubled history in El Paso. It started way back in 1887 and ended yesterday with the demolition of it's two larger stacks. (I'm sure the saga will continue in the courts and the further use of the property isn't decided.) On the negative side, it has a long history of polluting the area and has had many EPA infractions. Nevertheless, it was an iconic, historic landmark and was visible from much of the city. Although the stack was built after I lived there, I don't consciously remember a time that it wasn't there. I will surely miss it the next time I drive past the site on I-10.

When ASARCO was established, it was far from El Paso, which grew around it. The city of Juarez also grew to the south of the site. Pancho Villa reportedly worked there at one time. The company started the College of Mines (later Texas Western and currently the University of Texas at El Paso). The large stack was the tallest in the world for a few months at least.

I also like demolition/implositions. So, Below you'll find a great video exploring the towers by ground and air and a longish video of the stacks coming down. The latter loads faster than real time so you can jump to the explosions using the progress bar. The action starts about 3:00 in.  I also swiped the best photo from Facebook (credit: Patrick Reed).

The videos are below the page break: