Fresno History Demolished

August 20, 2008 8:02:41 PM PDT
Fresno is losing part of a landmark that has stood for more than a century. Crews are demolishing a large section of the former Fresno Consumer's Ice Company Building at the corner of Mono & "P" streets. City inspectors fear a section of the building would suddenly collapse and hurt somebody. Crews still have a lot of work until part of the old ice house is completely gone. The building was historically significant and protected by the government which makes the demolition historic in itself.

At first, only a few bricks came down. Then a larger tug and a whole wall collapsed. Crews moved in early Wednesday morning to slowly pull down the brick walls. Two friends sat nearby to watch a piece of Fresno history crumble into pieces. Marcia Fine said, "I'm a little melancholy about the whole thing. I don't like what they are doing to some of downtown Fresno- putting new building in." Lynn Bailes-Phillips said, "It's sort of sad to see the old building go. But it's sort of exciting to see what's going to happen in its place."

The former Fresno Consumer's Ice Company building stood in the heart of Fresno since around 1903. It is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. William Dyck is the owner and said, "We don't want to tear down anything that is historic." Dyck said significant water damage led to the roof collapsing. Because of that, Karana Hattersley-Drayton with the city's historic preservation called a section of the former ice house an imminent threat to public safety, "It was a very unsafe building and because it is right on the property line ... had it collapsed we would liable for any injuries." She also said the demolition was the first time in recent memory a building protected by the government had to be demolished. But Dyck promises to build something that fits the area, "We're shooting for a mix use probably some retail in the first floor, some restaurants and a mix of housing and office about it."

Once demolition is complete, then crews will need a few more days until the site is cleared. All of the work is being paid by the owner. He didn't want to say how much it is costing, but it is apparently a lot of money.

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