Historic Martin Tower Comes Down in Bethlehem

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. (WNEP/WPHL) -- The building dubbed the tallest in the Lehigh Valley is now a pile of rubble.  The 21 story Martin Tower was demolished early Sunday morning in a controlled explosion.  16,000 tons of steal collapsed changing the landscape in Bethlehem in a matter of about 15 seconds.

For decades, Martin Tower housed the headquarters for the Bethlehem Steel Company.  The company opened in 1972 and in it's heyday was America's second-largest steelmaker.  It went out of business in 2003, and sat vacant up until it's demolition on Sunday.  Thousands of people flocked to 8th Avenue in Bethlehem see the iconic building one last time before it crashed to the ground.

"I've been seeing that building everyday since I was born." Brian Bond told Newswatch16, our sister station in Scranton.  "I never saw a building get blown up so I wasn't going to miss it,"  he added.

Others who spoke with Newswatch16 said they were sad to see the tower go, but they are excited to see what the future holds.  Martin Tower's current owners looked into redeveloping the building, but decided it made more sense financially to tear it down and start over.  There are plans in place to redevelop the site and add medical offices, stores, a hotel and apartments.

Martin Tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in June of 2010 because of it's historic significance as the corporate symbol of the Bethlehem Steel Company.  Steel manufactured from it's plants were used on in the construction of the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Chase Senior from WNEP contributed to this article.

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