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Pine Street icon gone
A landmark piece of modern art that was a part of the Pine Street landscape for approximately 40 years has been removed.

Phillip Ward built a mock rocket ship for his business, Ward Schmidt Boiler Company back in 1969, the year men landed on the moon for the first time. Ward welded a top to the iron industrial boiler to make it look like an Apollo rocket and added some ornamental gauges and tubes. It was posted outside the plant as a conversation piece.

"It was supposed to go to Mars but they never did perfect it," joked Mike King, who bought the industrial property with his father, Bill King, in 2006. "It was a landmark. When I'd tell peple how to get there the would say, 'Oh yeah, I know where that is.' I hated to move it."

The current tenant, Craig's Towing, felt the boiler had outlived its useful purpose. King agreed that it was in need of maintenance and was not fitting of a tow company.

On Tuesday, Dec. 14 the 6,000-pound piece was removed from its perch and loaded up onto a Craig's Towing flat-bed trailer and hauled off to Modesto Junk on Ninth Street where it was sold for scrap value at $270.