Watching the giant demolition machines claw apart the Ruby Blair house last week in Warren Village was poignant.
It was kind of sad to watch the claw rip through the spaces that had recently been people's apartments, pink shower curtain still hanging as the claw pulled the walls and windows and roof down.
It gave one pause to watch a home that has been in Warren Village for generations and through only a couple of families be reduced in a day to a pile of rubble, capable of fitting into two huge dumpsters. The original plaster and lathe in the walls was exposed for the first time in over 100 years.
From a sheer spectator standpoint, it was quite a sight to see how the equipment tore off sections of the house and fittings, dragging them to the yard and scooping them up into the dumpster.
Warren's reasoning in having the property demolished versus historical rehabilitation was clear. Too expensive. And the town did not want to be in the business of being a landlord. That too is clear.
Warren purchased the property in 1995 from the late Ruby Blair as part of its facility planning for the municipal complex. The Blair house sat between the town offices and the Town Hall. The house originally had four apartments. When the town bought the house it rented two of the apartments and located its Department of Public Works office in one of the apartments and left the fourth empty as it was unrentable.
Towns must prioritize how money is spent, and the decision to remove the house, which dates back to 1858, was made in public and with the public. It would have been nice if money were no object. But it was.
The empty space between the town offices and the Town Hall now represents possibilities for Warren, including green space and the ability to plan for future municipal space.
It is still poignant.