Residents of a central Kansas town are watching with sadness as a 125-year-old historic downtown building is demolished.
Workers on Thursday began demolishing the former Parker House Hotel in Minneapolis because the building partially collapsed last month, forcing the evacuation of the downtown area.
The building's owners, Rural Restoration, had wanted to save it but the Minneapolis City Council voted to pay $76,800 to demolish the structure because of concerns that it could collapse, The Salina Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1142YoI ).
The building was erected in 1888 as the Corn State Bank and became the Parker House in 1899. Although it had been vacant for several years, the building was added to the Register of Historic Kansas Places in 2009.
Troy Rathbun, president of Rural Restoration, estimated that before the collapse, it would have taken $100,000 to restore the building. Rural Restoration was unable to secure funding for the renovations.
Anne Wallace and her late husband, Delbert, ran a coffee shop in the former Parker House Hotel in the 1940s, when the building was one of the busiest places in downtown Minneapolis.
"It hurts," Wallace said as she watched the demolition Thursday. "But it has to go. It is too unsafe."
The demolition is expected to take a few days.
Laura Everhart, who lives behind the hotel and whose family used to operate the hotel, said she and her mom watched crews prepare for the demolition.
"My mom talked about how she used to play hide and seek in the building and how she lived in various places in the building," Everhart said. "She was pretty upset."