Save the Birely smokestack

Any serious mitigation plan for the Birely Tannery would look to save some significant component of the building. Why not the splendid brick smokestack?

At more than 40ft the equivalent of nearly five stories high, nicely tapered from 4 ft at the base to 2.5 ft at the top, (my rough estimates) minimally decorated, it is a substantial and distinctive brick structure in its own right, although its footprint is modest. It soars well above the roofline of the three story north wing of the tannery.

The brick masonry is in excellent condition. 

Built separately from the rest of the tannery building it should be readily movable to a new location by a specialist engineering company.

A perfect new place for it would be up on the Carroll Creek Park promenade immediately south of its present location, where it would stand proudly alongside the canal walkways as a focal point, a prominent landmark, its verticality matching the theme of Frederick’s clustered spires, albeit with clearly industrial rather than religious origins.

It would be a giant sculpture. A great talking point no one could miss.

I’m still hopeful the whole Birely Tannery can be preserved through defeat of the deeply flawed hotel and conference center project as a whole. I’m hopeful the Governor will withhold state money from the rotten, wasteful,  crony project.

Regardless, if there is to be a serious mitigation plan it must consider saving the splendid smokestack.

Let’s be bold! And do something more in-your-face than easily overlooked signs, displays and archives.

P Samuel 2018.02.23

ADD-ON The special advantages of saving the smokestack are:

— its relatively small footprint which means there are many places it could be placed (my preference being not far from its present location, just inside the CC park)

— little refurbishment expense after footing is built for it and after it is moved

— its move would be a straightforward, not-too-costly construction job

— negligible ongoing maintenance cost

Our difficulty in saving the tannery building as a whole by moving it lies in the following questions:

— the footprint is large, where does it go?

— what is it going to be used for?

— who is going to refurbish it, use it and maintain it?

None of those three issues really arise with the smokestack moved as a landmark piece of civic sculpture and a memorial to the tannery.


NOTE: The pictures here come from Dennis Crews Photography contact for prints or use of these

The pictures here, and more, were first published September 2017 on the Save the Birely Tannery Facebook page here:

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