Tommy Wolfe remembers his mother working at the Foust Distillery more than 50 years ago.
"She was there when the plant was closed down around 1957," said Wolfe, a Springfield Township supervisor. "I was about 6 years old at the time. The buildings were torn down in 1979 and only the smokestack was left. It's a shame it has to come down now. But nothing lasts forever."
The smokestack situated along Distillery Road in Glen Rock will be torn down by its owner Tuesday morning, two weeks after it was struck twice by lightning during a thunderstorm, said Wolfe.
The structure is owned by Roma Partnership, based in the Southern York County area, Wolfe said. The company could not be reached for comment.
The 125-foot-tall smokestack
"When the lightning hit, it cut (the smokestack) in half longways, maybe 50 feet down, and knocked half the Foust name off it," Wolfe said. "The second lightning hit, put a big hole in it and a crack the whole way down to the ground."
Some bricks flew 150 feet away, landing on the road. Other bricks landed in neighbors' yards, he said.
"There are three houses the smokestack could fall on top of," Wolfe said. "It's fortunate that the bricks missed the homes and no one was hurt."
The township immediately informed the structure's owners of the damage and recommended that the smokestack either be repaired or torn down, Wolfe said.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation cleaned up the bricks on the roadway, he said.
The department planned to start a paving project on Distillery Road this past Monday, but will wait until the smokestack situation is resolved to start work, said Greg Penny, PennDOT spokesman.
The distillery was started in 1840 by John S. Foust and produced rye whiskey, according to John Hufnagel, chairman of the Glen Rock Historic Preservation Society.
Hufnagel said the smokestack will mainly be missed by longtime Glen Rock residents who have some knowledge of the distillery and by those who collected bottles produced there.
"It's going to be a sad day to lose the last remaining landmark or piece of the distillery that you can identify that the distillery was there," he said. "There will be nothing on the grounds any longer. It's disappointing."
Hufnagel said he agrees that the structure should come down as a matter of safety for the community. He said he might watch the demolition if there is a nearby safe area to do so.
"If my schedule permits, I'll try to get down there to see what's happening for the last time," Hufnagel said.
-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.