DUNDALK, Md. (WJZ) — There was a major change Wednesday at the site of the old Bethlehem Steel mill. That’s where demolition crews detonated the dynamite that brought an iconic Sparrows Point building to the ground.
Derek Valcourt has a look at the destruction of the L Furnace.
The giant star of Bethlehem is part of what made the building so recognizable and is now all that’s left. It’s been saved for posterity. The building that held it up was destroyed Wednesday and the company that owns the land is preparing for a new future.
It’s called the L Furnace and Wednesday, a planned implosion sent the whole thing toppling down.
It was a defining landmark in the area and many longtime residents came to see it fall for themselves.
“It was a big place back in the day. This was the heart of Edgemere, actually,” said resident Keri Bading.
Bethlehem Steel’s Furnaces were all assigned letters in the order that they were built. The largest, the L Furnace, was the last to be built. At the time its construction was completed in 1978, it was considered the biggest furnace of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
“At one point, it actually set a record for North American iron production and it was the visual landmark on the site. From every angle, it’s what people saw and associated with Sparrows Point,” said Sparrows Point Terminal COO Mike Pedone.
The new owners of the 3,100 acre Sparrows Point property say the implosion was necessary as they continue clearing out the site where one day they hope to build a new major East Coast distribution hub. They’re already looking for new tenants but for now demolition continues, including the destruction of the once-storied steel-making company’s largest blast furnace.
Officials say they aren’t ready to disclose information about possible tenants on the site or when construction on new buildings could begin, only saying they are hoping soon.
Baltimore County police warned local residents and businesses about the implosion in advance, to minimize worries about the sound of the explosion.