In keeping with the City of South Bend's efforts to revitalize the city, the former Oliver Plow Works was brought down by the wrecking ball and salvage crews. Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2002 I drove by the old Plow Works, where demolition is in full swing. Since the crews were not working, I figured it a great opportunity to get some pictures of their progress.
Not much is left standing. Left: View of what is left of the Assembly Building and Warehouse Building, Thanksgiving Day 2002. All of the other buildings that were in front of and to the south of these two structures have already been demolished. Right: Assembly building as seen from the west side of the property. The wrecking crews are doing their job. Pretty soon all that will remain of the "Plow Makers To The World" will be old pictures, memories and two structures, the Forge Shop and Powerhouse. After taking the pictures, I was overcome with sadness that a vital part of South Bend's heritage and history is being trucked away forever.
On my way home from work, January 9, 2003, I stopped by and took the pictures above. The picture on the left is looking at what is left of the Assembly and Warehouse buildings. Little by little the demolition crews are bringing it down. The picture on the right was taken north of the Warehouse building from the Conrail tracks. Pretty soon the land will be cleared and something new will replace the Plow Works.
February 19, 2003. For the first time in weeks the weather was decent enough to get out of the car and take pictures. So, on the way home from work, I once again stopped by the former Plow Works and took some pictures. As you can see from the photo on the left, the buildings are finally all down. The work continues to pulverize the stone and material and recycle what they can and haul away the rest. The Boiler House building is one of two buildings that will be spared. It is pictured on the right. The smokestack will also be preserved as a memorial to the Oliver Plow Works. The church steeple in the background is a church on Arnold Street. The old Forge Shop can also be seen. This is the second building that will be saved.
Boiler House and remains of the Power House. Photo taken from Chapin Street. The Power House will be coming down also. Work pretty much centers on hauling away what can't be recycled. Maybe after everything has been demolished and trucked away, the City Engineer will allow me inside to take pictures of the vacant lot? I'm not holding my breath.
Left and Right: One of two buildings to be left standing, the Boiler House. All the buildings, that were not to be spared, that once made up the Plow Works have all come down. What was once such a large part of the economics and history of South Bend has been reduced to rubble and recycled. These pictures were taken from the railroad tracks north of the plant site.
Left and Right: More pictures of the rubble. Picture on the right was taken from Arnold Street and is what is left of the huge Warehouse building, according to workers I spoke with. The Boiler House is in the background.
Forge Shop building. This structure, like the Boiler House, has been spared and will be used in the new development of the property. Ladies and gentlemen, the "World Famous Oliver Plow Works" is nothing more than piles of rubble, but lots of memories. As I stood watching the crews there today, I could not help wondering if the Olivers and former workers were looking down and were saddened by what was once such a vital part of the lives is being ground up and trucked off. Progress and economic growth must be encouraged, but it's sad when so much history has to be wiped off the face of the earth. I only wish I had started sooner and captured more of the plant in pictures.
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