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Brick by brick: Iconic smokestack at B&M Beans factory comes down after decades

The B&M Baked Beans factory brick smokestack has been a staple of the Casco Bay skyline since 1956.

PORTLAND, Maine — For more than 100 years, the Burnham & Morrill Baked Beans factory has been an iconic part of the Casco Bay skyline.

Its smokestack, built in 1956, has been towering over Back Cove for and filling the air with the scent of beans and molasses for decades. 

However, the company tells NEWS CENTER Maine the chimney has not been in use for over 20 years. 

Sea air has taken a toll on the brick and mortar structure, and time has finally come to take it down. B&M said due to its age, it has to be removed to ensure the safety of employees and the community.

With the help of a crane and a robotic claw, crews began the process of taking the chimney down on Friday—brick by brick.

RELATED: Take a look inside the 150-year-old B&M Beans factory in Portland

1 Beanpot Circle hasn't always been the factory's home. B&M's history in Portland actually goes back to the 1800s. 

The company was founded by George Burnham and Charles S. Morrill in 1867, offering canned products meat, vegetable, and fish products. 

The first factory opened on Franklin Street in Portland in 1867, though according to the B&M website, some sources say their first factory was actually in Machiasport, Maine. 

The factory on the mouth of Back Cove wasn't built until 1913. The then-state-of-the-art four-story factory didn't start producing baked beans until the 1920s when B&M began experimenting with brick-oven beans in an attempt to offset declines in their other products. 

From then on, brick-oven beans became synonymous with B&M and the factory. 

CORRECTION: This story was updated to correct previous reporting that the smokestack is more than 100 years old. While the factory has been there since 1913, the chimney was built in 1956.