U of L purchases iconic silos; plans to tear them down - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L purchases iconic silos; plans to tear them down

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Some call them landmarks. Others call them eyesores. But you can also call those giant silos off I-65 gone. Some call them landmarks. Others call them eyesores. But you can also call those giant silos off I-65 gone.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some call them landmarks. Others call them eyesores. But you can also call those giant silos off I-65 gone.

It's just a matter of time. 

That's because, after years of trying, the University of Louisville has finally purchased the silos and plans to tear them down.

Thousands of people see them everyday as they drive through Louisville.

"Every time I'm coming or going anywhere, I'm just used to seeing them," said Tina Steier.

The history of the silos is somewhat cloudy. They were built sometime early in the last century.

"They have either been doing the processing of cotton seed or soybeans in that general location since at least 1900," said historian Tom Owen.

The most recent owner, the Solae Company, closed in 2012. And now the U of L Foundation has purchased the property for $3.3-million.

Though the silos have served as a giant U of L billboard for more than 10 years, the University considers them an eyesore.

"The University of Louisville wants folks who are driving on I-65 to be able to look off to the left or right and see this beautiful campus that we've got now, and the silos kind of block that view," said spokesman Mark Hebert.

U of L plans to tear them down. But it won't happen right away.

"There are 22 of them. They're really thick concrete and probably not going to come down real easy. So, it's going to be awhile before we gather the funding and are able to tear those down," said Hebert.

The silos do have a checkered past - the checkered logo of a previous owner, Ralston Purina.

The company was responsible for the great sewer explosion of 1981. Hexane vapors from the plant leaked into Louisville's sewer system.

"The spark ignited that Hexane and blew up the street and damaged adjoining buildings for a mile-and-a-half or so," said Owen.

Though the silos have achieved almost iconic status, there's mixed reaction to seeing them go.

The employees at this nearby Denny's Restaurant see them everyday.

"I am used to seeing them, but I see their point - so you can see more of campus," said Brooke O'Mara, who is also a U of L student. 

"I don't know why but I always look at it when I pass it. Definitely, it will be a little sad," said Tina Steier.

U of L has wanted to buy the property since the early 90s. But there are no concrete plans just yet.

Copyright 2013 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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