The former Simonds Industries auction -- to sell scrap metal, equipment, building removal, etc. -- brought people in from all over last Wednesday. Some to bid on items and many more to relive the memories that the former factory had brought to their life or to their family.
Manager of the partnership that owns the former Simonds location, Tom Woosnam said he visited with a man who worked some 47 years at Simonds, formerly known as Heller Bros. and Heller Tool Company.
He even talked with a great-grandson of an employee. The man stood where his great-grandfather once worked and in that location was a clock still hanging on the wall. He asked if he could have it and Woosnam graciously gave it to him.
Tears were visible from those at the auction as well as stories that started with "remember when" or "I can remember."
The auction, under the direction of Jason L. Miller of Dave Kaufman Realty, opened with the sale of an old file manufactured in the factory that employed up to 1,4000 workers in its heyday. The file, with the money raised to be donated to St. Jude Children's Hospital, sold for $30 and then re-sold for $25.
The auction went into the removal of scrap metal, etc. and then the machinery.
All in all, the auction lasted approximately three hours. Estimates totaled more than 200 in attendance, according to Dawn Prokopy, daughter of one of the owners in the Simonds partnership.
Woosnam said work should be starting soon with the removal of the large white storage tank and boiler house -- two notable landmarks that made the location distinctly Simonds. He said workers have anywhere from 30 to 60 days to have the items removed and/or torn down in order to make way for new businesses wanting to expand to Newcomerstown, Woosnam said.
Simonds closed their doors back in September 2007 and moved their operation to Columbia, South America, however, a Gnadenhutten office is maintained.