CANAJOHARIE-A familiar sight in the village is gone after workers removed the giant letters than spelled "Beech-Nut" from the roof of its closed manufacturing facility.
Last week, the letters were taken down from the baby food factory that once employed more than 300 local residents.
Even with the closure of the factory, the Beech-Nut sign had dominated the view of the village from the Palatine Bridge. Now, the sign's steel frame is all that remains of the signature sight.
Photo by Bill Trojan/The Leader-Herald
The iconic sign over Beech-Nut’s former baby-food factory in Canajoharie is seen above, in a November 2011 file photo.
Mayor Francis Avery said the removal of the sign did not come as a surprise to him.
"We were notified a few days ahead of time that they would be removing the sign," Avery said.
According to Avery, there had been some chatter on social media websites about the sign's removal, but the company had the right to remove it.
"It is their sign and their building - it is theirs to take down," Avery said.
He said though he did mourn the removal of the landmark, he sees it as a sign that it's time for the community to move on.
"It's the end of an era," Avery said. "What can we do? We have to move on."
In 2009, Beech-Nut announced it would close the factory and build a new complex in the nearby town of Florida - after a new multimillion-dollar water-treatment plant had been built in Canajoharie with Beech-Nut's needs in mind.
Avery said since then, the village has been waiting for someone to buy the building.
According to a statement Avery made in July, Canajoharie has yet to feel the full effects of Beech-Nut's departure. With the factory standing unused and Pyramid Reality trying to sell it, Avery said, depending on how the building is sold, Canajoharie may suffer.
If a company moves into the Beech-Nut facility as it currently stands, the village will continue to receive tax income from the property. However, if the facility were to be torn down and replaced with an industrial park, Avery said, the new owner might get a tax break, hurting the village's bottom line.
Avery said the letters that made up the Beech-Nut sign were scrapped upon their removal due to degradation from the elements.
Calls to Beech-Nut for comment were not returned.
Arthur Cleveland covers Montgomery County. He can be reached at email@example.com.