Either way, you're looking at hiring a professional for advice, if nothing else. Jacking the chimney is definitely a job for a pro, not a homeowner. The pro will advise your as to whether you'd be wasting your money or not. (Of course, you ultimately have to make the decision on whether or not the chimney has value worth saving vs. the cost of saving.) On the other hand, taking it done can be done by the homeowner, if and only if he's been properly advised about what structural issues he might run into it the house structure is actually "tied" to the chimney. That would call for a pro to examine the structure and give an on-site opinion about how the structure might act initially without chimney, and what repairs and immediate alterations might be necessary to shore the house up once that masonry support is gone. Removing the brick and debris is certainly a homeowner project, if the rest of the house will be safe during the process.
Get yourself someone to take a look at it.
[This message has been edited by treebeard (edited April 23, 2003).]