For those looking to remember former Bethlehem Steel headquarters Martin Tower, once the tallest building in the Lehigh Valley, the options are growing – and possibly ‘shredding.’
After announcing that it was selling commemorative bricks taken from the wreckage of the building that was demolished in May, the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem has announced a second offering.
The museum has partnered with Homebase, a Bethlehem skate shop, to produce a limited-edition deck – the board part of the skateboard – that depicts blueprint drawings of the tower on one side and photographs of the building being demolished on the other.
The commemorative skate decks were the idea of Andy Po, owner of the skate shop, who has his own history with the iconic building. He worked there when it was being leased to Dun and Bradstreet when he first got out of college.
He said it has always been a part of the Lehigh Valley skyline.
“Whenever you’re away and driving back to the Lehigh Valley, you see it as a marker on the horizon, that marker that showed you were getting closer to home,” Po said.
Besides his own connection, he knows the building held a great deal of sentimental value to the many people who worked on and in the building over the decades.
He said the property was also very popular with skateboarders – even if they weren’t quite welcome there.
“It was more guerilla style, trying not to get caught,” he said.
He has commissioned a number of skate decks with local themes over the years, featuring iconic images from around the Lehigh Valley. A silhouette of the steel stacks at Bethlehem Steel was among the most popular images.
He wanted to commemorate the company’s headquarters in a similar way.
The photos were taken by Glenn Koehler, director of marketing and public relations for NMIH, who is also a professional photographer. Po knew Koehler threw their mutual love of skateboarding.
“I grew up skateboarding and greatly admire Mr. Po’s dedication to the community and local non-profits,” Koehler said. “The fact that he reached out to me about not only including my photography in a project but was receptive to a benefit for the museum speaks to how great he and his business are as neighbors in the South Side Arts District.”
The skate decks are selling for $55 each. It would cost a total of between $120 and $140 to make it into a full skateboard depending on the parts used.
Part of the proceeds will be donated to the museum.