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Last wall of Alcoa plant in Edgewater comes down

Photo Credit: Richard Criscione

VIDEO: The last vestiges of an East Coast symbol of the 20th century’s industrial era were removed today as what remained of the old Alcoa Aluminum plant in Edgewater came crashing down.

River Road from Archer Street to Russell Avenue was closed through the morning as the 5-story wall was razed.

Crews attached cables to the top girder running the length of the building’s remaining wall and yanked the structure down with backhoes. The rest will be bulldozed.

Originally known as the Alcoa Edgewater Works, the factory was built in 1916 and produced millions of alumninum cans — as well as wings and other parts for American warplanes during World War II.

Once the second largest rolling mill in the U.S., the plant stretched from the west side of River Road up to Undercliff Avenue, a landmark for what for many decades was something of a backwater factory town — and is now considered a jewel of the Gold Coast.

After 50 years in operation, the plant closed. In August 1978 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The building remained vacant until nearly 15 years ago, when demolition began.

Part of it was removed to make way for a park, and then more to build the town’s largest rental complex, the 408-unit Avalon development.

Some may remember the huge “Alcoa” sign placed atop the plant, facing the Manhattan skyline, in 1949 — a move that today would qualify as branding.

VIDEO: Courtesy Richard Criscione

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