“That wasn’t a boom, it was a bust.”

By on December 3, 2005

As we mentioned previously, the abandoned Zip Feed Mill, the tallest structure in South Dakota, was scheduled for demolition to make way for a new office building.

Today was the day, and a bunch of us, along with one of the local news crews, got together on top of Gadgetopia World Headquarters to watch it go down. The demolition plan called for the explosives to be detonated on the eastern base of the building, causing the structure to collapse into an empty area to the east.

At 12:55, a raffle winner pushed the button, the explosives lit off, and a sound like a thunderclap signalled the end of a Sioux Falls landmark…

The precariously leaning Zip Feed Mill

…or at least the first two stories of it. The old mill came from a time when men were men, women were women, and concrete, apparently, was very solid. At the explosion, the building fell around thirty feet and started to lean east, but stopped dead in its tracks, settled into its foundation like a mug in a cupholder.

Demolition crews will likely start in with wrecking balls on Monday to finish the job.

Local station KELO has a video of the explosion online, but, sadly, it’s abit anticlimatic.

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Comments

  1. Well, we made CNN by 3 p.m. — I’m so proud.

    You had to be there. The explosives went off, the building started to drop, then it stopped. Then there was this period of silence while we were all waiting for the second explosion…because there was going to be a second explosion, right?

    It took about 30 seconds to realize that something had gone horribly wrong. You could hear 20,000 people laughing in a 10 block radius.

  2. I just drove by the site on 6th Street, and it’s quite a sight. The thing that made me laugh out loud is that there are now a number of cables strung from the top of the West side of the building (just above the BOOM! sign) to the trunk of a tree near the building. And it’s’ not a particularly large tree either.

    I’m not sure if the cables were put in there to keep it from tipping farther to the East or what; if that building leans just a little bit more, that tree sure isn’t going to stop it!

  3. I was waiting patiently for this post.

    I laughed my butt off watching this on live TV. That thing has got to be a huge safety hazard right now. Dave, that’s funny about the tree.

    Real nice work, fellas…

  4. That’s pretty funny. I wonder if it will make the next round of demolition documentaries on Discovery and TLC?

    P.S. Any idea why comments and FF 1.5 aren’t remembering me anymore? Seems like both have recently been updated so I’m not sure who to blame ;-)

  5. Glad I did not pay the $5 or $10 options. Here is my wife’s comment…”you know we are desperate for something to do when we drag our 3 kids (4yr, 2yr, and 8mo) out in 14 degree weather to watch this.” My comment was, “yeah, but it feels like a warm 14.” Reality is, she was right.

    Seriously though, 1 loud boom and I too was waiting for “phase 2” explosion only to realize what everyone else did…this thing is a total bust. Crazy thing is the added cost now to bring in wrecking stuff…why not just use explosives again…it is not going to fall with some 200 lb guy climbing on it…at least not with the tree cables (did not see).

    Anyway, my 2 year old loves the fact that it is still standing. We drove around the site for 20 minutes just so he could see the angles and the Big Boom.

    Here is the funniest thing in closing…we watched it from the Gospel Mission and the guy next to my wife said “kinda like Europe, just ours is a leaning tower of sh*t” and another lady said (different conversation) “Great, not we will get on national news and this will solidify people thinking South Dakotans are stupid.”

    Another guy who worked in the mill 25 years ago said he was not surprised as it is build rock solid.

    Enough…

  6. “Great, not we will get on national news and this will solidify people thinking South Dakotans are stupid.”

    But only for hiring out of state help to blow the thing up; let’s hope people remember it was Dykon Explosive Demolition of Tulsa, Okla that was brought in for the job. Not that that will alter people’s perception of South Dakota, but…

    Something tells me this job won’t make Dykon’s best-of page.

  7. But only for hiring out of state help to blow the thing up

    Amen to that. Our own dz would have been happy to do it for them, with a much louder bang, and much smaller rubble.

  8. Amen to that. Our own dz would have been happy to do it for them, with a much louder bang, and much smaller rubble.

    Creative differences would have stood in the way of progress. I’m not sure Howalt-McDowell would have been willing to part with the cash required to do what I would have needed to do here…

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