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Tuesday, Apr 22nd

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Metrodome roof to be reborn as duffel bags

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Duffel bags from Metrodome roof

The original roof of the Metrodome -- the one that spectacularly collapsed three years ago -- will see new life as duffel bags as Duluth Pack has prepped products based on the Teflon-coated fiberglass.

As you'll remember, the Metrodome roof collapsed in 2010 under the heavy weight of melting snow. A replacement roof was brought in from Syracuse, and the old roof was put out to sale. We're not quite sure if Metrodome officials thought there would be a buyer, but Twins in-game entertainer Jim Cunningham (you'd recognize the voice; he does a lot of commercial work in the Upper Midwest) and local businessman Tim O’Phelan bought the three-acre roof for $4,000. (The Metrodome roof is actually two layers of Teflon-coated fiberglass. The pair bought the inner layer.) They put the roof in storage until a use could be found.

Enter Duluth Pack, a long-time creator of tents, packs and more. After determining the Teflon-coated fiberglass could indeed be used to create a product, Duluth Pack set out to create duffel bags and packs based on the roof. You can see the results in the photo at the top. From duluth.com:

Using a piece of a historical Minnesota building was appealing, said [Duluth Pack President Tom] Sega. After the coming Minnesota Vikings season, the Metrodome will be torn down and a new stadium will rise in its place. Artifacts will become hot items, the partners hope. But they still had to make a product.

“It’s tough as nails,” Sega said, adding it was good for cutting, sewing and riveting. “We found it very doable.”

But it was dirty.

O’Phelan said they tried hand scrubbing and other methods and were getting discouraged. Then they tried an industrial tile scrubber. Three decades of grime started coming off “like butter,” he said.

The bag are already for sale at the Duluth Pack website and will be showcased at the Minnesota State Fair next week.

If these products sell well, there may be more original material in the future: the Metrodome is slated to come down early next year to make way for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. Everything -- including the current roof, we assume -- will be let out to bid.

Image courtesy Duluth Pack.

RELATED STORIES: On the auction block: Metrodome contents; Compromise reached on baseball at new Vikings stadium; New Vikings stadium could host Gophers baseball -- if the numbers work; Adios, Metrodome; One anniversary not marked by MLB this year: Metrodome opening

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