Dewey Ave Demolition

When we moved to Rochester almost ten years ago, there was a building a few blocks away from our house that was a real eyesore.  Beaten up, boarded up, broken windowed, run down, it was a mess.  Over the years, there has been a lot of talk about this building.  People have had big plans for it.  Finally, a few months ago, we heard that a development project had gone through.  Something was going to happen to the building.  This was really good news for the entire neighborhood.

I guess I haven’t driven down Dewey Avenue in a while, because last Saturday I was shocked to see that the building had been almost totally demolished.  I had assumed that the building would be restored or renovated or remodeled, but apparently I was wrong.  The place looked like so forlornly beautiful that I wanted to snap a couple of pictures.  I looked in my purse, but I did not have my camera.  Aaargh, I had once again broken my own #1 rule – Take your camera everywhere!

I promptly forgot about the building.  On Sunday, we were headed out somewhere and I knew it would not be out of the way to drive past the demolition site.  I grabbed my camera and we went to take some photos.

Like the demolition of Midtown Plaza, this demolition struck me as looking like giant machines had taken big bites out of the building.  From the north side, the building just looked as if it had been gutted.  Walking around the corner, though, showed the most of the building had been destroyed and was lying in ruins around the site.

The ground around the building was littered with debris.  Lumber and bricks were scattered, as if the gluttonous machines had eaten too much of the building and then vomited it up into the yard.

The sunlight on the remains of the building was just beautiful.  It was somehow haunting to see the glorious light playing against the carcass of the shell.

Interesting shapes were everywhere.  I walked as far as I could around the fenced enclosure, savoring the exquisiteness of the carnage.

In the entire building, only one set of glass block windows remained.  While all the other glass had been completely removed, these rugged warriors stood their ground.

Part of a roof dangled precariously above a small section of remaining wall.  The machines had stopped, mid-bite, and left the roof for another day.

I had considered this building an eyesore for ten years.  Since we moved to the Maplewood neighborhood, I have wanted it gone.  Seeing it taking its final gasps, I felt a little sadness at its passing.  People built it out of strong brick, hoping it would last.  I don’t know its history.  Was it a factory? A shop? Apartments?  Even more intriguing, what does the future hold for this plot of land?  What is the new development that is planned?

This evening, after work, John and I drove by the building site again.  What we saw today was just as shocking as seeing the shell last weekend.  Tonight, the entire building is gone, along with most of the rubble.  Some scattered bricks remain, but the building has been totally destroyed.  I am so glad that I took the time to take photos last weekend.  If I had waited, I would have missed my opportunity to explore the light, the shapes, and the beauty of the death of this building.


4 thoughts on “Dewey Ave Demolition

  1. Thanks for writing this. I very much enjoyed it and the photos. I have had a similar feeling and questions as I watched the building come down. I am excited about what will come next there, too. Will it be green space? New business? It’s exciting to have the renovation of Dewey Ave coming up.

    • I can hardly wait to see how beautiful Dewey Avenue is going to look when all the renovation is done. Although, I must admit, I am not looking forward to the road construction. Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. There’s just something so hauntingly beautiful about an abandoned building. Like you, when I see these proud, broken shells, I can’t help but wonder who once walked those halls, who looked out the windows… I’d so much rather see an old building restored than destroyed.

    • Hi Melissa, I’m glad you were able to get your comment through! I think our love of old buildings comes from Grandma always encouraging us to make up stories about everything. I remember her always asking questions about who we thought lived in a building and helping us invent a story about the imaginary family. I so often thank her for the gift of stories. Too late for this building, but there are lots of potential stories in the buildings of Rochester.

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