by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
The 125-foot water tower stood as a fixture over Rogers City for nine decades, yet it took nine demolition crew members from Iseler Demolition less than a day to bring it down and haul it away.
As onlookers gathered on street corners surrounding the Doris Lane water tower, the popping sounds of cutting torches being lit could be heard throughout the morning and afternoon as crews meticulously took it apart and gingerly lowered to the ground, piece by piece, starting with the roof, then the side panels and then the bottom of the tank. The supports followed until only a ghost remained of the 1928, 150,000-gallon structure..
“I think a lot of people were amazed that it went down in one day,” said Chuck Kieliszewski, Rogers City’s water superintendent. “It definitely went as planned, and probably exceeded our expectations.”
Joe and Sally Cercone had the closest home. Iseler Demolition covered most of their garage with a tarp and ran a sprinkler on the top of the roof throughout the dismantling process.
It was to prevent any fires from occurring.
“The guy came around and he told me, I am going to circle your house during the entire process,” said Sally Cercone, who was one of many skeptics that did not believe it could happen in a day. “They were extremely efficient and they really cleaned up after themselves.”
Sally Cercone said there were many people that wanted to see the roof removed. It’s when the biggest crowd congregated.
“They just eased it over,” she said. “It was amazing.
“They worked really hard,” said neighbor Val Pardike. “I thought it was very well organized.”
It does leave a void in the Rogers City skyline.
“I like it,” said Pardike. “It was not functioning anymore.” It went offline in 2011.
“I think people are missing it,” said Kieliszewski. “People in the area always used it for giving directions. It’s not there anymore.”
There is some minor cleanup with concrete foundations that go down 8 feet. The city will be left with the task of selling the lots.
Sally Cercone said she has a plaque that was placed on the structure in 1930 by the company, Chicago Bridge & Iron Company. It has been recovered and will be donated to the Presque Isle County Historical Museum.
“Chicago Bridge & Iron built the new tank,” said Kieliszewski. “So, they are still in business.”