Bethlehem’s famed Martin Tower held a special place in the hearts of many, from the residents who drove past it daily to those who worked there and their relatives. Its May 2019 implosion was viewed in person by thousands, and across the world by countless spectators. In a collaboration between the National Museum of Industrial History, Homebase Skateshop, and Glenn Koehler Photography, the legacy of the tower is being preserved through a unique way: skateboards.
A limited-edition skate deck sold through Homebase Skateshop, a Lehigh Valley staple, commemorates the building’s demise with a special pressing. The top of the deck is hand-signed and numbered by the photographer, Glenn Koehler Jr., and features a blueprint drawing and facts about the building. The bottom of the board features a view of the implosion like no other – shot from a helicopter that was generously provided to the National Museum of Industrial History by Vertivue Air Charters (vertivue.com). The photos offer an unbelievable perspective to the implosion, forever commemorated on this limited edition run of 100 boards. The boards are fully usable as functioning skate decks or can be hung as a piece of art to commemorate the event. Part of the proceeds for each deck will go to benefit educational programming and future exhibits at the museum
“Partnering with Homebase is near and dear to my heart,” said Glenn Koehler, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at NMIH. “I grew up skateboarding and greatly admire Mr. (Andy) Po’s dedication to the community and local non-profits. The fact that he reached out to me about not only including my photography in a project but was receptive to a benefit for the museum speaks to how great he and his business are as neighbors in the SouthSide Arts District.”
Andy Po, owner of Homebase Skateshop, said, “Commemorating this historic event with a local artist and helping to benefit the museum is a great way to combine art, skating, history, and community-building. I hope with these decks we can not only give people an interesting piece of local lore but also turn new generations on to history.”
The double-sided commemorative decks are currently on pre-order and will be made and shipped to pre-order customers in late September. More information about the decks can be found at http://nmih.org/martintowerdeck.
A Smithsonian Institution-affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. Housed in an 18,000-square-foot, 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum is home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history. Learn more at nmih.org.
About Homebase Skateshop
A Lehigh Valley transplant, Andy Po formed Homebase Skateshop over 17 years ago in South Bethlehem. Since then, the shop has not only become an integral part of the SouthSide Arts District, but has promoted skateboarding as a sport and passion throughout the community. Andy has been instrumental in creating the Bethlehem Skateplaza and has set up a program that gives out skateboards to underprivileged children in the community. Find out more about Homebase Skateshop by visiting the shop at 29 W 4th St in Bethlehem, or finding them at homebase610.com or @homebase610 on Instagram.
About Glenn Koehler Jr.
Glenn Koehler is a photographer and writer based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His work spans photojournalism during fires and Hurricane Katrina, to fine art displayed in galleries and museums. His work has been featured in regional publications such as The Morning Call and in national publications such as The Washington Post and the Associated Press. He works as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the National Museum of Industrial History and serves as the Director of the SouthSide Film Institute. Find more of his photography at glennkoehler.com