February 24, 2008

Owens Illinois - Brockport Plant


This is the Owens Brockport Plant in 1997, just before it was demolished. The plant operated from 1961 to 1985 according to this article in Westside News. A few years ago while learning how to use Photoshop, I tried to recreate what it might have looked like when the tower was freshly painted: (click images for larger view)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Early '90's, Worked as a security guard there for Pinkerton's. Learned that government regulation led to the shutdown of this plant. Much of the equipment was sold to a company in Pakistan. Remember there was an "ecology lab" on the South side of the building - a ditch where during the 1970's, employees were encouraged to bring their spent glass "cullet" for recycling. Worked with a guy named "Austin", an '80's guy with a permed mullet, former used car salesman, found his huge stash of porn up in the ceiling tiles of the little guard shack. Used to ride bicycles around the warehouses. They told us it was too dangerous, in the dark. Found out that he slipped on the ice in the parking lot and hit his head and required surgery which resulted in his death. There was a guy named Murphy, "Murph" who was a guard since the O-I days. Showed up with weird cocoa beverages in a preserves jar. Watched a fluorescent ballast burn out and nearly burn down the place. Explored the big "tower" there. The entrance was a place where kids had bonfires and sprayed graffiti. Up in the tower, there was some sort of computerized feed mechanism they used to send silica down into the plant. By the control room, I found a radiation fallout shelter sign. There was a broken window and a bible flapping in the wind. Sat in the near darkness and listened to Led Zeppelin II on my Walkman, pondering the ruins. This was the deepest moment of solitude I've ever experienced in my life. Had a crush on a co-worker. She got fired for something. Tracked her down afterwards, and called her. Asked her out. She never called back. We carried a big, heavy, round, "detex" time clock. We'd have to turn keys to impress a paper tape. Walked through the dark, all over the warehouse. One windy night scared the bejeepers out of me. Wind blowing everywhere shaking the corrugated steel roof. You got sick of the smell of cardboard boxes after a while. Late night fatigue, you thought there were things moving in the corner of your eye. There was a little leaky propane shack for all the fork loaders in the functioning warehouse part of the plant. Had an empty jar of Newman's Own salsa. Always thought the leaky propane smelled like garlic. They disabled the phone and the radio. The phone so you couldn't call out beyond the hourly check-in. Explained to one city kid, wanted to call his girlfriend, you could just hit the hook, the old-fashioned way, and dial out using pulses. He didn't last long. Got the radio dial working with some string and a plastic bottle cap. WCMF is the only station playing music at 4 in the morning. Sound of frogs in the woods really loud. Fell asleep on the job. Big no-no for a guard. Trucker woke me up, The warehouse kept working long after the glass plant was gone. They'd line up to be ready for an early morning start. You had to get their "bill of lading" and write something on a clipboard "Millis, "Gypsum", trucking company names...

Anonymous said...

This is pretty much what the tower looked like in the 70s. I still see the interior in my sleep after working there for several years, upstairs and down. We knew everyone on our shift and some on the other shifts (A,B,C and D). 7AM-3PM, 3PM-11PM, 11PM-7AM and then back to 7AM-3PM. It was hard time adjusting to the times.