By Michael Boyd Jr.
The Ste. Genevieve Herald
April 28, 2004; page 5
The last of the deteriorated, vintage junk cars was hauled away last Friday from a downtown junkyard that has become a landmark in the City of Ste. Genevieve.
Completion of the job paves the way for future restoration activities at the 19th century house that sits on the property at the corner of South Main and South Gabouri.
It took a little over a month for Jeff Lewis, a Bloomsdale resident who owns Lewis Salvage, to get the job done, with the help from employees and members of his family. The old cars, once owned by the late Willie Hoffman, were place in a 48-feet high box trailer, then taken to St. Louis to be shredded and melted down.
“We moved out about 300 cars from here,” Lewis said. “We took out about 27 loads – 250 to 300 tons of junk material. It took a while to get it all out of here, even using a forklift and a hauler with a grapple-bucket.”
Lewis said that he had to break the news to a few of the passerbys who hated to see the pile of vintage autos go. (It has served as inspiration to several artists and photographers in recent years.)
“I told them to think in terms of the next year, when they purchase a new car or a new washing machine,” Lewis said. “They just might be buying a part of the Hoffman junk yard.”
Lewis Salvage lays claim to being the biggest recycler in the county.
“We like to see it all recycled for later use – turned back into useful products instead of filling up our landfills,” Lewis said. “That’s the way we see it.”
The Hoffman family has undertaken the clean-up, fulfilling a promise made to city officials three years ago after years of complains about the old cars.
The Hoffmans now will bring in another company to clear out the old tires and trees, before work begins on the house.
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