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Demolition in progress at former Seneca plant

Iconic water tower will be restored, repainted and eventually surrounded by green space.

The former Seneca plant is demolished Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist /

Demolition of the Olmsted County-owned former Seneca plant is expected to take 20 days and an additional 30 days will be needed for removing the foundations.

Mat Miller, the county’s director of facilities and building operations, said related work on restoring the iconic ear-of-corn water tower will begin in the spring.


  • Seneca demolition will include corn tower restoration Olmsted County commissioners approved a $1.1 million contract to remove Seneca plant and restore the iconic ear-of-corn water tower.
  • Seneca plant not historic, but water tower preservation planned Study makes way for county's plan to demolish former canning facility, while plans are being made to preserve icon.

When all the work is done, the restored water tower will stand surrounded by green space at 1217 Third Ave. SE.
The $1.1 million project tackled by St. Michael-based Rachel Contract is expected to come in below early cost estimates.

The county has proposed completion of the project by July 1, but elements of the timeline remain in flux.


The water-tower work calls for removing the existing paint and repainting the corn design on the structure that has been part of Rochester since 1931.

County commissioners have said they want to remove the 1925 building to make way for options to redevelop the site which is adjacent to the county-owned Graham Park.

The park is targeted for transition into a regional destination, which would include a proposed multi-purpose expo center, and the Seneca site has been discussed as a potential site for a future transit hub.

Jerry Davidson, of Rochester, uses a tablet to record the demolition of the former Seneca plant Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Rochester. "This is kind of a sad thing for me," said Davidson, who grew up in the neighborhood, while recalling memories of his childhood. "This was our playground," he said. (Joe Ahlquist /

The former Seneca plant is demolished Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist /

The former Seneca plant is demolished Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist /

The former Seneca plant is demolished Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist /

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