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Published: Tuesday, 1/10/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Protesters end Tiffin vigil as razing goes on

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

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Workers repair their crane at the Seneca County Courthouse on its second day of demolition on Tuesday. Workers repair their crane at the Seneca County Courthouse on its second day of demolition on Tuesday.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

TIFFIN -- Noticeably absent on the second full day of demolition at Seneca County's 1884 courthouse were the signs of protest, the protesters themselves.

Many departed soon after the wrecking ball began punching holes into the downtown landmark Monday afternoon. Others left when the destruction of the southwest corner made it clear there was no longer hope of saving the courthouse.

"I am finished," Brenda Stultz said late Monday. "I have seen destruction. What man can build, man can destroy."

PHOTO GALLERY: Demolition: Day 2

RELATED STORY: Tears flow as history falls to wrecking ball

Excavating equipment was largely idle Tuesday morning while a mechanic and workers with B&B Wrecking and Excavating of Cleveland worked to repair the large red crane that swung the wrecking ball on Monday.

B&B President Brian Baumann said he hoped to have mechanical problems with the crane fixed by Wednesday. In the meantime, two long-armed excavators worked for part of the afternoon picking out and pulling down chunks of the building on the second and third floors facing Washington Street.

Mr. Baumann said an excavator works faster than a crane and wrecking ball, but he needs the crane to reach the clock tower perched atop the courthouse.

John Huss, a local historian, watches as demolition continues at the Seneca County Courthouse. John Huss, a local historian, watches as demolition continues at the Seneca County Courthouse.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

As the excavators worked, the southwest side of the building continued to tumble in pieces and dust to the ground as spectators, many with cameras, lined the streets.

Tom Giebel of Tiffin shot video and still pictures while the wreckers worked. He said he'd watched the demolition Monday on his computer at home and decided to come downtown Tuesday to see it in person.

"I just feel like I had to be part of the closure," he said, adding, "The overwhelming majority of people hate to see it go, but they don't really have an attachment to the courthouse."

Mr. Giebel said he remembers going to the courthouse, which has been vacant since 2004, to pay taxes, and get a dog license.

"I thought it was strange that things weren't modernized years ago. People made those decisions," he said. "It's pure neglect."

Andrew Alsip returned for the second day to photograph the demolition -- an act he said would have been painful for his father, Blair Alsip, a local antiques dealer and history buff, who died late in 2010.

"This is one of the biggest symbols we have in Seneca County -- where people came to seek justice," Mr. Alsip said. "I don't want to put words in my Dad's mouth, but he would be very sad, I know."

Tom Burwell, who owns a four-story building across the street from the courthouse, was doing electrical work on the roof which afforded him a bird's-eye view of the courthouse's interior. He pointed out the four-brick thick interior walls, the foot-thick sandstone façade that covered the building's solid brick frame.

"It's a shame it has to come down, but you can't undo 40 years of neglect," Mr. Burwell said.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.



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