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Demolition Starts at Norcross Building


A former factory in Rock Island is coming down. The demolition of the Norcross Building started Tuesday afternoon and Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms was among those watching.

"We've been waiting for a good number of years to be able to get this building demo'd. It's been vacant for at least five years, if not longer, it was in rough shape before that even." said Mayor Thoms. "So we're glad to see this building finally coming down, it's been a hazard for a number of years." 

Originally, Servus Rubber opened the plant in 1922, on 2nd Street at 11th Avenue, and produced safety boots for farmers and firefighters. 

During the 40's, the plant employed a peak of about 1500 people. In 1982, footwear company Norcross bought the factory and ran it until financial problems led to a shut down in 2011. The nearly 100 year history of the site ended with a vacant building and more than 300 people out of a job.

Mayor Thoms says this demolition is notable, because the materials are going to be re-used. Dirk Fox, owner of Barns-N-Boards from Morton, Illinois, is in charge of the re-purposing.

"Probably 75% of the lumber here will be salvaged." said Fox. "Then some of it will go down south for flooring, and some of it is going out to Idaho and Montana for cabins."

The land where the building stood will also be re-used because it's in an enterprise zone, but Mayor Thoms says there are no plans for the site yet. 

The demolition is expected to be finished in 4 to 5 weeks.

I'm currently a Senior at Augustana College, working on majors in Multimedia Journalism and Mass Communication and Communication Studies. In addition to interning at the station, I also work for the Augustana Observer, the college's official student newspaper, as a writer for the Arts and Entertainment section.