Crowds lingered among the riverfront and at the city's amphitheater for a chance to see the impending demolition of one of the city's industrial icons. "A new day in Hamilton, isn't it?" remarked one man as I walked up. "It's a strange day when you're blowing something up to get something new," remarked another.
The smokestack and it's adjacent structure had once been the centerpiece of the the former Champion Paper Mill. Once known as the "paper valley," Hamilton had been a central location for paper mills from the mid1800's until the 1960's when several mills began closing. In the early part of the 21st century only two mills remained. By October 2011, the closure of both mills by their separate parent companies was announced. By 2012, Hamilton was without a paper mill for the first time in 164 years.
Currently, there are plans to renovate some buildings at the mill site and demolish the rest. Plans call for a new business park that according to a May 2013 story in the Hamilton Journal News could one day include an indoor sports complex, retail and restaurants on site.
After the symbol of a Midwestern city's former glory fell and the dust cloud rose, the people scattered and downtown Hamilton continued about its day - leaving behind the past and heading into the future of a city continually try to be reborn.
HD Video featuring the implosion and a 120 FPS slow motion view: