Lehigh Valley

Man who helped build Martin Tower prepares to watch his handiwork fall

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - It's a strange feeling for Jim Buzinkski, to think about years of hard work being brought to the ground in just seconds.

"It bothers me a little bit, yes, when you work on something and you work hard and you see it disappear," said Buzinkski.

The Slatington native helped set the first columns of Martin Tower back in the early 1970's when he was just an apprentice.

"It was a very interesting job, one of the biggest jobs in the area at that time," said Buzinkski.

He says it was a tough gig. Besides the sheer size of the building, Martin Tower was made of steel...heavy, Bethlehem steel at that.

"The base columns that were set weighed 595 pounds a foot," said Buzinkski.

Another major challenge was a brutal winter.

"We were only averaging two or three days a week, that's all we could work," said Buzinkski.

Buzinski says it was freezing and windy that year, creating dangerous working conditions.

"The wind would just pick up the sheets, more than one time we had to evacuate the whole job, the sheets would just blow off the building," said Buzinkski.

But they pushed through, eventually creating what would become an iconic structure in the Lehigh Valley.

"Every time I go down 8th Avenue I look at it and I reminisce and I think about the camaraderie with the men and the good times," said Buzinkski.

Buzinski went on to work on other projects across the region and eventually opened his own construction company. But to this day he says Martin Tower holds a special place in his heart, and in just a matter of hours there will be a small hole in it.

"Every time I go down 8th Avenue I'm going to sort of miss it," said Buzinkski.

Buzinkski says he plans to watch Martin Tower fall in person on Sunday, he'll be down there bright and early with family.

69 News will be broadcasting the demolition live. Coverage will start at 6 a.m., and the demolition will take place at 7 a.m.

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