Lehigh Valley

Retired Bethlehem Steel engineer reflects on helping build Martin Tower

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - As we prepare for our live coverage of demo day, we're taking a look back at some of the people who were part of the iconic landmark.

WFMZ's Joy Howe begins this mini-series with a man who helped build the place, and in doing so did something that in those days was groundbreaking.

This always was a team effort for Gordon Baker, but the retired Bethlehem Steel civil engineer told a crowd who came to hear him talk about the mammoth monument that he thinks he's the last of just two in his original crew, still living, who helped build it.

"They said we couldn't do it, by golly we did!" Baker said.

How'd they do it? They used a business computer to draw up plans for the steel structure.

Instead of thousands of hours spent drafting, the computer did it for them, faster. These days, our smart phones have more power than that big old computer that built Martin Tower, but at that time, it was revolutionary.

Gordon would eventually work in the tower he helped build, staying there until he retired in 1996.

It was touching for Gordon to see this building tower over the Lehigh Valley for so long. But he says, even as someone who helped build it, he's ok with it coming down.

"I'm not emotionally attached to be very honest with you, it's probably not the answer everybody wants to hear me say, but I'm really not," he said.

Watch the demolition live on WFMZ-TV and here at WFMZ.com on Sunday, May 19 starting at 6 a.m.

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