Appetite for disappointment

Zip Feed Mill (Argus Leader)

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Today, December 3rd, 2005, was the day slated as “Zip Tower Goes Boom” day.

What does this mean?

Demolition of our “historic” feed mill, the Zip Feed Mill, was to occur at 12:55pm today. Since Sioux Falls sees this abandoned building as a sort of state landmark (which, I guess, it is – considering it’s arguably the tallest building in the state,) it has created a huge buzz throughout the last few weeks. The toppling generated thousands of dollars for charity through raffle tickets (to see who would be the person that got to “push the button”) and high class viewing areas (designed to cater to the needs of those who wanted to have a glass of wine with their destructive show.)

The media latched onto it, as they always do in a town with little real news, and newscasters and journalists alike have been updating us on raffle winners, prospective uses for the land, and the impact of losing the tallest building in the state. The Argus has been featuring a picture of the tower nonstop for the past week, and the hype machine even briefly turned away from Catastrophic Winter Storm 2005 in order to cover this momentous occasion.

The Argus Leader devoted the last five days to this story: November 25th, 30th, December 1st, 2nd, 3rd. We had news coming in from everywhere in the area: Minneapolis, Omaha (through the AP), the local networks (KELO was great for this.)

Personally, I circled the date on my calendar. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. Truthfully, it isn’t every day we get to see a building toppled. Kerrie and our friend Sara scouted out a spot on top of McKennen Hospital’s parking ramp, and Sara and I trudged a few blocks to the ramp today at 12:40pm.

A paraphrased quote from Sara – “What if this is the most disappointing thing we’ve ever seen?”

If only we knew how right she was.

At 12:50pm, we could see the building off in the distance. The before shot:

Before the destruction

I was turned to Sara when it started to go down. I looked over quick enough to see it lean to one side, emitting a huge puff of dust. Second later, the boom from the explosives hit our ears – not loud, but enough to know that there was certainly an explosion over yonder.

And then it stopped. Falling, I mean. It completely stopped falling over.

The after shot:

After the

We stood there for a few more minutes. There surely had to be more. There was another set of explosions coming, right?

Wrong. They messed it up. The Zip Feed Mill would not continue to crumble. The hype machine stopped dead in its tracks and cried a small sob. The newscasters scrambled to change their questions from “What did you think of that explosion?” to “What did you do wrong?”

The national attention was light before. Now, it’ll be hard and heavy. Sioux Falls will be a funny story tomorrow, essentially becoming the laughing stock of the Midwest. We’re the town that couldn’t even topple a building – a building that wasn’t even that big to begin with. In fact, the Associated Press has already sent the bulletin out: “Blast fails to fell tallest building in SD.”

And now what? Will it just stand there? Will a team of people be commissioned to push it over? Would anybody be caught dead putting more explosives in that building? Caught dead… get it?

Nope, according to KELO:

Schuler says crews will attempt to finish the demolition Monday with more conventional methods. Wrecking balls will be used to finish the job.

This is disappointment that’s great even at South Dakota’s level.

Oh well, at least we’ve got the Winter Storm to talk about.

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(Thanks to SD Watch for the links. I tried to get this up before him, but I always fail. Epp must have a computer ready wherever he is, that rascal.)

This was lovingly handwritten on December 3rd, 2005