With the demolition of what once was Alcoa’s Logans Ferry Powder Works, Plum will lose a historic touchstone but could gain a new foothold to the borough’s future.
A real estate company that bought the 20-acre industrial site in 1987 when Alcoa idled the plant recently began to raze more than a dozen brick buildings moldering at the base of Coxcomb Hill Road.
Alcoa moved its powder works to Plum in 1918 after the aluminum powder it produced sparked an explosion at the New Kensington Works the prior year. It was the first of three explosions associated with powder production in Alcoa’s New Kensington and Plum facilities that killed 17 people, the last in 1979.
During its 68 years of existence, the plant produced powder that gave automotive paint its sparkle, added durability and cooling properties to roof coatings, and was used as a base in rocket fuel, dynamite and fireworks.