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Midwest City dismantles a piece of history

Residents of the Atkinson Heights neighborhood watched on Monday and Tuesday as Midwest City's 1947 water tower was dismantled.
by Jim Beckel Published: July 17, 2012

In September, Holland gathered in a nearby park with hundreds of fellow residents to say goodbye to the tower.

Pam French, 55, stood Monday in her driveway, taking pictures of the dismantling. Her eyes were fixated on the workers tethered to safety cables as they worked in special suits and helmets outfitted with cooling units to offer relief from the excessive heat.

“This is history,” French said. She grew up in the area and the tower holds special memories for her, but she realizes it has outlived its usefulness. Sentimental thoughts give way to reality when she admits “it's about time for it to come down.”

“It's kind of sad, but it's exciting, too,” French said. She is looking forward to seeing development where the tower once stood, and she's certain it will be a positive thing for the neighborhood.

Lilly Stubbs, 41, spent her teen years in the shadow of the tower and used it as a reference point when giving directions to her home.

“It was definitely a landmark,” Stubbs said as she stood alongside her father and Holland, gazing upward as demolition continued.

“I always wanted to climb it,” Stubbs said, but the fear of getting in trouble with her father dissuaded her from ever making the attempt.

The tower demolition was a sideshow for curious onlookers Monday. Many slowed their cars to watch or snap a photo. Others brought lawn chairs or sat beneath the shade of a tree. A man and woman sat in their car, eating pizza and looking out the windows in time to see a section of steel as it touched the ground.

Linda Farber called her husband at work as soon as she learned the tower was being taken apart. Farber and her husband are lifelong Midwest City residents and, for most of their lives, have lived near the tower. Her reaction to the demolition was lighthearted.

“After I told him the water tower was coming down today, I asked him if he would be able to find his way home tonight without it.”

by Jim Beckel
Jim Beckel been a member of The Oklahoman's photo staff for 25 years. During that time, he and his cameras have covered virtually every type of news and feature story imaginable, traveling to all regions of Oklahoma to document events and provide...
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