MOUNT VERNON — Demolition of Mount Vernon’s abandoned PPG Plant is a pivotal phase of Ariel-Foundation Park’s development and a history lesson combined. As walls of the sprawling industrial complex come down, relics of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair are coming to light along with reminders of the city’s industrial heritage and ghosts of the nation’s early labor movement.
Project administrator Ted Schnormeier reports that the demolition crew has taken down and cleared office buildings from the southeast corner of the 59-acre site and begun “nibbling around the northeast edge” of the property’s warehouse expanse. Soon to come down are two warehouses and the notable Coxey Building, which was built in the 1890s around steel salvaged from the World’s Fair.
The building carries the name of “General” Jacob Coxey, a Massillon eccentric who built considerable wealth as a miller and purveyor of cure-alls and spent most of it on horses and politics. Coxey was nothing if not tenacious and mounted many unsuccessful campaigns for president and senator, among others.
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