Crowds gather to watch demolition of DTE Energy's Conners Creek Power Plant

Posted at 11:36 AM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 12:17:58-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — For more than 100 years, the DTE Energy Conners Creek Power Plant has been part of Detroit’s skyline. On Friday morning crews demolished it.

The plant that has been between Jefferson and the Detroit River since 1915 collapsed in just seconds.

On Belle Isle, people gathered to watch it come crashing down.

One woman in the crowd said she felt like she was witnessing history in the making as the DTE Energy plant fell. It just so happens she also made history at DTE Energy.

“I was the first woman brought in to work in the power plants back in the 1970s,” said Donna Simpson.

Simpson says she started working at Detroit Edison, which is now DTE Energy, in 1974. The company decided to start hiring women after a lawsuit over racial discrimination in hiring. They didn’t want women to sue too.

Simpson, whose last name was Carter at the time, started working shoveling coal then moved up the ranks.

Her daughter shared with us an article that was published in “Detroit Edison Today” when Simpson became a supervisor.

“To see the coal plant come down and I know they are looking at taking other coal plants down. It’s just like new times. It is time for the next generation to take over and find new ways to do what we did,” she said.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to use the site of the plant to expand, creating jobs at a Jeep plant.