Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Marilyn and Goliath

No, I don't slay giants. But thanks to my husband, I had the opportunity to go to the top of the highest structure in our city which is a crane built by General Dynamics in the 1970's. It is located in the former shipyard, stands 20 stories high, 400 ft across and is appropriately named Goliath. (A word about the former shipyard--this is the place which originated the saying "Kilroy was here"! During WWII, there was an inspector named Kilroy who left the saying on whatever he had inspected.) The picture at the top shows only half the structure since I was too close to fit it all in a frame. This giant once was the largest crane in North America. Since the shipyard no longer exists, the crane has been sold to Daewoo and will be transported to a shipyard in Romania. To build a new crane would cost $45-60 Million. The Korean company bought it from it's current owner for approximately $650,000 and it will cost $16 Million to dismantle it, ship it and then reassemble it in Romania. Recycling at its best!

Ken, our son, Kenny, and I arrived at 8 a.m. and met Mike, the project manager/engineer for the dismantling. Ken has been dealing with Mike for a while and it turns out that they both earned their undergraduate engineering degrees from the University of Illinois.

We were all given hardhats, then took an elevator (thank goodness!) up 15 floors to the first level. What a great view we had. Just a little hazy, but still panoramic. We managed to get inside the center beam which was dark, but walked the entire length once we were on top of it outside. We climbed five flights of stairs to get to that point.

We wanted to go to the highest point, but once we arrived there, a couple falcons were determined to keep us from doing that. One of them started swooping around us, just missing our heads several times. We appropriately changed our minds about going to the top. It turns out that the falcons had a nest there, but the babies had already hatched. The entire family was removed and placed in a new home a few days ago, but it appears they found their way back to the crane.

The structure to remove the crane should be finished in a week or so and it will take only two to three days to bring it down.

This was certainly a different way to spend the morning.

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