Slowly and steadily, the bricks of the iconic smokestack at the Foust Distillery property in Glen Rock started coming down.
But plans to dismantle the lightning-damaged smokestack on Tuesday did not go as planned.
"It is really solid and we want to get the unstable part down," said Phil Robinson.
Robinson, who co-owns the property on Distillery Road with Baron Matthews under the Roma Partnership, called the project "a challenge."
Safety precautions led them to forego using dynamite or a wrecking ball to demolish the structure.
The smokestack needed to be removed after being struck twice by lightning during a thunderstorm two weeks ago.
The smokestack was originally equipped with lightning rods, but it was only discovered after that storm that those had been removed, said Phil's son, Matt Robinson. He suspects they were stolen.
Neighbors and residents from throughout the county lined up along the roads to watch the process on Tuesday.
Built in the early 1940s, the smokestack was never used but was the only part of the Foust Distillery still standing after everything else was torn down in 1979.
"I'm interested in York County History and Foust is an important part of that," said Ray Kinard, 77, of Seven Valleys. "Everybody tries to collect his jugs and mugs."
He was one of a few people who took home a brick from the part of the smokestack where "Foust" was spelled in white paint - the first part of the structure to fall on Tuesday.
"It would have been great if it could have stood, but it is definitely a safety factor now so it had to go," Kinard said.
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.
Hog wash with the leftovers from Fousts Distillery is what 83-year-old Dale Brenneman remembers feeding the pigs on his family's Glen Rock farm when he was growing up.
The distillery mashed and boiled residue from the whiskey to make "hog wash" that Dale Brenneman would then feed to the pigs.
"Today we wouldn't dare feed that slop to pigs," he laughed.
He and his wife, Joann, 78, watched the process from their vehicle on Tuesday.
"I was here watching when they built it," Dale Brenneman said. "I climbed halfway up it and got scared."
The smokestack was 125 feet tall and had a ladder on the outside with rungs a foot apart to climb, he said.
"It's a nice landmark," Joann Brenneman said. "I was hoping they would add lightning rods and leave it there. It's a beautiful tower and for whoever built it I'm sure it wasn't easy."
Spring Garden Township resident Judi Fisher grew up next door to the distillery and remembered playing baseball beside there with her siblings and having to chase the ball when it rolled under the fence.
"It's really been an iconic type of thing," said Fisher, 61. "The amazing thing is that it's been here all of these years and it's never been struck before."
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