The old Carlisle Tire and Wheel facility along North College Street in Carlisle is crumbling into piles of debris as demolition progresses, but a little piece of its legacy has been preserved.
"Some of our council members were interested in seeing if we could preserve the mosaic, and we did," said Mike Keiser, Carlisle Borough's director of public works.
The mosaic of the Indian head logo of the old Carlisle Tire and Rubber Company was located above the door to the main office, north of B Street. “It wouldn’t catch your eye just driving by,” Keiser said.
Lincoln Warrell, whose father, Jonas, and brother, Carroll, ran the company at different times through the years, said the Carlisle Indian trademark was likely connected to the Carlisle Indian School.
Keiser challenged two of his employees with past construction experience to look at the mosaic and see if anything could be done. “They examined it on their own and came up with a plan,” Keiser said.
The plan turned out to be a little more complicated than might be expected. The mosaic had actually been constructed on-site — built into the wall — rather than being made somewhere else and attached to the wall. “It was kind of a delicate operation to remove that without damaging it,” Keiser said.
The removal happened quickly, involving only a few men and equipment time. First, workers removed part of the roof and cut around the mosaic with a concrete saw. Then, they built a brace around it to lift it out.
“It wasn’t an elaborate scheme, but it had to be a sturdy enough support that it wouldn’t fall apart,” Keiser said.
At that point, the crew covered the mosaic and moved it to “an undisclosed location,” Keiser said with a laugh.
There are currently no plans to display the mosaic, but it’s possible Stromberg/Garrigan & Associates may be able to work it into the Carlisle Urban Redevelopment Plan, Keiser said.
The mosaic isn’t the only piece of the former Carlisle Tire and Wheel that could be destined for future displays. “There are some other interesting artifacts in there that we’d like to preserve,” said Tom Lobasso, managing director of Reinvest Solutions, the company that owns the site.
In the meantime, the rest of the facility continues to be demolished. Lobasso said demolition started in December. “Prior to that, they had to take care of everything that was left inside the plant,” he said.
The demolition is moving from north to south, from D to A streets, Lobasso said.
“We’re looking at having the whole building down by the end of March,” he said.
Warrell said he has watched the progress of the demolition. “A week ago Thursday, there wasn’t much left. About 75 percent of it was down and there was just acres and acres of rubble,” he said. “It’s disappointing. It’s the passing of an era.”
“I thought of all the additions my father put into the rubber company to make them more efficient,” Warrell said. “And that’s come and gone, et cetera, et cetera. That’s life.”