MANITOWOC - After standing tall in Manitowoc for more than 100 years, the former Mirro cookware plant is coming down.At one point in its history, the massive cookware plant in downtown Manitowoc employed 3,400 people.
"It's got a lot of history, a lot of people worked here," said life-long Manitowoc resident Dick Hermann. "A lot of people I knew worked here."Hermann, 74, counts his mother-in-law and wife among them."Matter of fact, she worked part-time while she was going to school, in her senior year," said Hermann of his wife.Now, Hermann watches from the comfort of his car as what was once a fortress of employment is torn down, brick by brick."There's a lot of emotion involved in this thing," said Hermann of the old company. "Kept the town going, really.""I love the structure and I love its history," said Dan Watton.Watton, who also lives in Manitowoc, and a friend are taking the building's demise as an opportunity to preserve it, photographically."Part of documenting a piece of history going out of Manitowoc," said Watton. "But at the same time, you look at that building, it's just a beautiful structure."Eric Spirtas, the president of Niagara Worldwide - the company that is doing the demolition and owns the building - says the demolition process could take some time.""Our issue has been all along, said Spirtas in a phone interview with FOX 11, "trying to find the right economic time and the right group that's interested in what we're bringing to the public."In the form of salvaged hemlock and maple floorboards; bricks are also being bundled for resale, which is used to help fund demolition costs.As for Hermann, he says he's sad to see it go, "but I'm not. It's kind of an eyesore, at this point."Newell-Rubbermaid bought Mirro in 1983, then moved production to Mexico.Plans to redevelop the abandoned complex over the years never materialized.
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