Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar--
This brick chimney has been a Forest Acres landmark for as long as I can remember. I was driving by yesterday, and noticed that the gate to the old parking lot which I had always imagined housed the stack was open.
So I parked across the street at the dental clinic and walked on over.
I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure this parking lot and this old foundation-looking area is all that remains of the buildings where my father's Army Reserve unit met all through the 1960s and 1970s. He would go here one night a week every week, and also head to Fort Benning for two weeks training camp every summer. I think he brought me by once to show me the building, but I recall almost nothing about it.
I had always assumed in the back of my mind that the chimney was connected with those buildings somehow, but once inside the gate, that proved to be wrong:
In fact the chimney was on the other side of the fence at the condo development in the next lot (though people have punched holes in the fence to come through this lot and tag the base of the chimney).
I had never paid any attention to those condos, but had it in the back of my mind that they were gated. In the event when I drove by, that turned out not to be the case, so I pulled into the condo complex and went around back.
The chimney is next to some sort of condo maintenance outbuilding and one of the complex's dumpsters:
Also, from up close to the base, you can see that originally it connected to some other structure, presumably an incinerator.
Although he described it as covered up, I'm guessing this opening is the one described by commenter Jerry in his wonderful story:
In a similar fashion to this tower there is a huge brick chimney located about a mile away at what was part of Ft. Jackson but now a part of 42 Magnolia Apartment complex. This tower used to have a small entrance, like an igloo door tunnel that you could crawl. It has since been covered with earth to prevent access, but about 1992 when my son was about 7 we went exploring and found ourselves inside the tower. Embeded in the brick, and evenly spaced about every 14 inches were iron rungs that formed a ladder to the top of the chimney. I am guessing that the chimney is 100 feet tall, but it looked higher from the inside. We climbed about 30 feet up, but with no harness, and the wall angling inward, it seemed wise to desist. I intended to go back with some climbing equipment and go to the top, (how cool would that be to look out over Forest Acres from the top of the tower!), but the land was redeveloped soon afterward and access was removed. Although I have no idea what the chimney was used for, it is still there and easily visible towering above the pine trees from the Forest Drive / Greg Park area.
It would not at all surprise me to find out that kids from the condo complex, or kids sneaking in from the parking lot are climbing the chimney today.
UPDATE 14 July 2009: If you enjoyed this blog post, you can buy products printed with pictures of the chimney at the Columbia Closings web store.
UPDATE 7 April 2011 -- The chimney is coming down. (Hat tip to commenter Alicia):
UPDATE 10 May 2011: Add 20 June 2010 and 29 June 2010 photosets. Added the opening rainbow picture.
UPDATE 26 Jan 2013: Add 7 April 2011 photoset.
UPDATE 13 December 2013 -- As seen in these pix from 10 November 2013, the lot occupied by the parking lot in front of the old chimney is being leveled for construction. There has been a lot of work smoothing things out since these pictures:
UPDATE 3 February 2014 -- It's to be apartments:
UPDATE 5 March 2014 -- The apartments are coming along: