Another High Falls Icon Will Come Down... Or not?

Another High Falls Icon Will Come Down... Or not?

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published February 23, 2012 and can be found here.

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: 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.

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA