LAWRENCE — The bricks on the 220-foot-high chimney in the middle of the Cardinal Shoes building will come down one by one over the next several months.
The bricks of the octagon chimney have been falling onto the roof of the 153-year-old building. Richard Bass, president and chief executive officer of Cardinal Shoes said he had to make a tough decision of reducing the height of the chimney at the suggestion of a structural engineer he hired. City inspectors and members of the Lawrence Fire Department had told him the chimney was in danger of collapse.
“What we’re doing is taking care of a situation that needed to be tended to,” Bass said. “We’re doing it for the safety of our employees.”
Bass said also at risk are the 1,100 solar panels on the roof installed in 2011 which could be damaged by the falling bricks. According to the company’s website, the panels generate 273,000 kilowatt hours per year saving it thousands of dollars.
“We are the largest solar powered ballet shoe factory in the world,” Bass boasted yesterday.
Corey Crane Company of Lowell, is removing the bricks from the chimney which was once part of a six-story building next to Cardinal Shoes. The building where the stack was located was imploded in the 1920s.
“We can’t use a wrecking ball because the chimney is right in the middle of the building,” said Steve Corey, owner of Corey Crane.
Cardinal Shoes was founded by Harry Bass and his brother-in-law, Alan Ornstein in the Everett Mills in 1969. They moved to its present location, the former Atlantic Enterprises building at 468 Canal St. in 1980 and continued manufacturing women’s shoes until 2000. The building was once part of the Pacific Mills. Today, Cardinal Shoe makes top-of-the line Gaynor Minden pointe ballet shoe and dance paws for barefoot dancing.