Tornado Damage Forces Goodbye To Iconic Marshalltown Building

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MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- It was a sight many in Marshalltown thought they'd never have to see.  "It is kind of like watching a car wreck.  You can't avoid it.  It's just fascinating to see," said Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer.

It is much more than demolition in Marshalltown.  "It's kind of the end of an era," said Lenesa Webber who owns Create A Keepsake on Main Street, across from the demolition.

When the EF-3 tornado ripped through downtown Main Street it took a piece of history with it.  "Kind of a tough day today because this building going down behind us is one of the prettiest and oldest buildings we had, so that's sad," said Greer.

Webber still remembers how much the building, now reduced to rubble, meant to her as a child.  "That was one of the first buildings I think in Marshalltown with an elevator.  It was so exciting when mother would bring us downtown to go shopping," she said.

Crowds gathered to watch a bygone era tumble away.  Mayor Greer said effects of the tornado continue to keep demolition crews busy nearly six months.  "We've had about thirty buildings in the downtown area that are going to be torn down or have been torn down."

Main street shop owners have even found beauty in the destruction.  Create A Keepsake has beautiful dishes made from broken glass the tornado took from their storefront window.  "I needed to have it live again after the tornado. Do something good with something bad," said Webber.

Destruction, leading to a rebirth.  "I'd like to see a building that has retail on the first floor and three stories of housing above it.  That would be the best picture I could paint," said the Mayor.  Making "Marshalltown Strong," stronger.  "We will come back and be better," said Webber.

Demolition is expected to last at least through Friday.

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