WATCH ABOVE: A piece of prairie history came tumbling down today. Kent Morrison was there as a community gathered to mark the event.
EDMONTON — A water tower that was built in the 1930s was torn down Wednesday in the town of Edson.
“I’ve been up there. When I was about 15 I think,” said Jim Gomuwka.
Gomuwka serves as the president of Edson’s historical society, sits on town council, and grew up in the town.
“It was almost a rite of passage for a lot of young guys to climb up there and you signed your name just to let everybody know you did it.”
The Edson Water Tower was decommissioned in the early 1990s. The ladders were also taken off.
The town considered maintaining the decommissioned tower, but, in the end, decided it would be too costly, and chose to tear it down instead.
“It’s not a joyous occasion. It’s sad,” said Gomuwka.
“We would have loved to have been able to save it, but financially it just wasn’t a project that we could actually invest in.”
He said it would have cost more than $750,000 to restore the tower, and the foundation was crumbling. Despite the realities of the situation, Gomuwka is sad about losing the historical significance.
“It’s always been that one thing that stuck out in the community… It was never a gathering spot, but it was always one of those historical icons that you never noticed everyday but it was there.”
Shortly before 10:30 a.m., residents and media lined the parking lot at Talisman Place to watch the tower come down. Children at a nearby school gathered to watch the big event.
John Vanderveen has lived in the area for 65 years and says the water tower was always a part of Edson.
“Kind of emotional in a way, a little bit. It belongs here, but it’s just as wise to take it down. Cost to much… going to be too dangerous to leave it.”
“It’s definitely part of Edson,” he adds. “It used to stand out quite a bit… It’s been a real landmark for Edson, that’s for guarantee.”
The town is aware of the historical value of the tower and is working with the Edson and District Historical Society to preserve Wednesday’s take-down. Older photos of the tower, the names signed on the side, as well as videos of Wednesday’s demolition will be saved.
WATCH: The Edson Water Tower, built in the 1930s, was pulled down Wednesday. The local historical society hopes to preserve the moment.