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The art and heart of Salem Harbor Power Station

Photos by Joanne Rathe/Globe staff

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The coal pile at Salem Harbor Power Station has steadily dwindled since the final 50,000-ton load arrived on a vessel from Colombia six months ago.

The blinking red lights on its soaring emission stacks, an icon for mariners and airplane pilots on the North Shore, will go dark after the 63-year-old coal-and-oil fired power plant closes on May 31.

Its big noisy machines, such as the original General Electric turbine, will fall silent after the plant is torn down, and replaced by a new $1 billion gas-fired plant.

But through the eyes of students at Montserrat College of Art, Salem Harbor station and its 105 workers will not fade quietly into the landscape. A special course was designed to document the demise of the plant in multiple art forms.

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