Going out with a bang
By Daniel Arens
Fifty years of rich Mercer County history came to its end in fifteen seconds.
Early in the morning Oct. 11, vehicles could be seen pulling off Highway 200 east of Stanton, looking for a place to capture a momentous event with their cameras and phones. Then came the awaited moment itself.
At 8:30 a.m., Stanton Station’s towering presence over the surrounding area ended in a flurry of explosions that brought its half-century existence to a close.
Although crews have been working for nearly a year at the demolition of the Great River Energy (GRE) operated facility, the largest buildings that make up the primary iconic visual of the power plant remained standing. Now, however, drivers passing along Highway 200 will no longer see the two boiler buildings and the 270 ft. high stack standing up proudly along the Missouri River banks.
“It’s really the end of an era,” Rick Lancaster, vice president and chief generation officer with GRE, said. “It ends the story since we first turned the lights on in 1966.”
The demolition of the power plant, which employed 67 people prior to its decommissioning, was a pioneer in lignite coal-producing plants. However, changes in more recent times forced a difficult choice.