Onlookers cheered, whistled and shouted as building imploded and collapsed

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It was a sad day for those gathered to watch the demolition of the historic Ogden federal grain elevator.

By 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 16, there was already much chatter amongst crowd members as they took some time to share their memories of the 98-year-old building, currently owned by Cargill.

For former Cargill employees, the building held a lot of history.

Ross Dunbar had worked in the elevator for 35 years. As a long-time employee, it was he who pushed the black button, sending the elevator toppling to the earth.

“It’s just too old and becoming unsafe,” Dunbar said. “It’s time for it to go.”

Ogden elevator implosion

The Ogden grain elevator comes crashing to the ground after nearly a century of service.

Photo by: Victor DormaAs the crowd gathered behind Dunbar in anticipation, the clock finally struck 8 a.m. There were a series of loud booms before the building folded into itself and crashed to the ground. As the air filled with clouds of dust, there was applause from the audience, with people cheering, whistling and shouting. One man shouted, “That was awesome!”

Standing next to Dunbar was Rahulan Sethupathy, a Cargill project manager, who had been working on the demolition project for a long time.

“Basically eight months of planning came down to about eight seconds,” Sethupathy said, who added that he was awestruck by the implosion.

“It went absolutely fantastic. I don’t think it could have gone any better.”

Sethupathy said he is very grateful to have taken part in an historic event.

“Years from now, when people talk about the demolition of the old grain elevator, it will be neat to know that I was a part of it,” he said.

Also awed by the implosion was Garry Wise, who had hauled grain to the elevator since 1980. He reflected on the piece of Calgarian history he had to say goodbye to.

“It was one of the oldest buildings in Calgary,” Wise said. “It was a definite landmark for sure, but it’s just another page in life that you have to turn.”

Taking the place of the Ogden elevator is a facility in Carseland, Alta. However, Wise said there’s no comparison.

“[The Ogden elevator] had way more capacity and quicker loading and dumping then the one they bought in Carseland.” Concerning the Ogden elevator, Wise said it was simply “way ahead of its time.”

As the crowds dissipated and the dust started to settle, street sweepers got right to work cleaning up the huge mess that the implosion made, symbolizing the end of an era for the old elevator.

Click here to see more photos from the demolition

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