A thick cloud of brown dust settled over portions of downtown Great Bend Wednesday and Thursday as a demolition crew carefully began the delicate process of razing the old Trading Post building at 1315 Williams.
"It’s good to see it coming down," said Great Bend City Administrator Howard Partington. It’s sort of sad to see a piece of local history being demolished, but this structure had become so dilapidated that it wasn’t salvageable.
Its owner, Larry Sloan, told the Great Bend City Council he made arrangements with a service to take the structure down, but the company has prior commitments. This week was the soonest they could get to the project.
It should only take a few days to complete the work.
Unlike some other local buildings that have been torn down recently, it wasn’t merely a matter of bringing in a excavator and smashing away. The Trading Post’s north wall butted up against the old Steinerts Furniture Store building, which now houses a dance studio. Crews had to be careful to separate the walls and bring 1315 down without damaging its neighbor.
City Building Inspector Lee Schneider reported earlier a structural engineer studied the building in 2008, and it was determined then it was unsafe and presented a danger.
However, Schneider said at that time there was an interest in the owner of the building just to the north to restore the old building. That didn’t happen for a number of reasons, and Schneider said the former shoe repair structure had roof damage, part of the roof had collapsed, walls had deteriorated, bricks were missing from the external walls and the structure was no longer safe.
Daylight could be seen through some of the bricks and a gap between the two buildings was visible. The sidewalk in front of the Trading Post had been blocked off for some time
Once it was a shoe repair shop. It housed a canvas production business and has been many things over the years.