A controversy is now roiling a part of the Hampden neighborhood. A developer wants to level a secluded 1930 industrial property and replace it with a six-story apartment house, complete with parking and a swimming pool. Added to the drama is a stout brick chimney that once served the old clothing factory’s boiler. It’s a tall smokestack where thousands of migrating chimney swifts swoop and spend the night in the late summer and again in the spring. Come morning, they take off. The show the birds make is enough to draw dozens of human onlookers to take in this semiannual ornithological show. This smokestack has achieved a real following. The building, at 3110 Elm Ave., is known as the Free State Bookbinders, a business that started operating here in 1984 but shut down about a year ago.
A developer faces off with Hampden’s beloved chimney swifts
December 19, 2022