The Beginning of the End of 807 Elm Street
Photos by Harry Wilonsky
Six months ago came word: Park Cities Bank, which had taken possession of circa-1925 807 Elm Street in the West End, wanted to raze the building, which sits in a parking lot across the street from El Centro and which one Friend of Unfair Park had pursued, briefly, as a would-be loft rehab. And after the attorney repping the bank made its case to the Landmark Commission, citing "decades of neglect due to deterioration, weathering, and poor economic conditions," Landmark finally said OK in December.
Which is why, first thing this morning, Billy L. Nabors Demolition ("We Could Wreck the World, Jesus Saves") hauled out the wrecking ball and took to smashing the building to bits, brick by Palmer Brickyard brick. When the 7-year-old who lives in my house and I pulled up, there was but a small wound in the building's side; two hours later, it has grown into a gaping wound.
By the time the boy took all the photos he'd wanted, shortly before noon, a sizable crowd of El Centro students and tourists -- and even other parents with their young children -- massed around the demolition site, all taking photos with their cell phones. A young Hispanic man wearing a Tony Romo jersey and sporting a backpack asked an older African-American man walking with a cane why they were tearing down the building. The man said: "Because it's old."
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