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Citizens of the Town of Hurt watched as the Klopman Mills smokestack toppled Wednesday, sending bricks flying across the empty lot and leaving a pile of rubble behind.

An onlooker said that it came down a little before 2 p.m., and collapsed in on itself before toppling down and to the side.

One of the last remnants of the old textile industry in the Southern Virginia Multimodal Park, the smokestack had demolition crews working on it for three days before it finally came down.

Matt Rowe, Pittsylvania County Economic Development Director, explained that bringing down the smokestack was one of the last pieces of the puzzle to bring 21st-century industry to the area.

"It's closing on one chapter and moving to the next," Rowe said.

The county brought out several Fortune 500 companies to the property, Rowe said, and the conclusion from their feedback was that the site was still for "old industry."

"You can't build 21st-century industry to a 20th-century lot," Rowe said.

Gary Poindexter, Mayor of Hurt, echoed that sentiment. He said "Cold War-era" buildings are an obstacle to economic development.

"21st century industry wants a site that conveys an image of a community looking to the future," Poindexter said.

While the mayor is nostalgic and sentimental over the bygone industry, he believes it's best to move on.

"One of the great lessons I've learned is to not live in the past and look forward," Poindexter said.

Rowe said that the smokestack coming down was "symbolic and meaningful."

"I think the community handled an emotional thing pretty well," Rowe said.

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