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Building succumbs to wrecking ball

April 28, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - By late afternoon Wednesday, Jim Hendershot and his wrecking machine were more than halfway through the goal of tearing down an old bowling alley at 406 E. Main St.

Hendershot, an employee of Charles E. Brake Co. Inc. in St. Thomas Pa., and Hagerstown, began eating into the empty building with his machine's big steel claw Wednesday morning. By late afternoon, more than half of the building was lying in a pile of twisted steel, broken cement blocks and smashed wood.

The building's neighbors on each side, the former Chuck's Sunoco Service at 402 E. Main St. and Waynesboro Automotive Supply at 410 E. Main St., are headed for the same fate.

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Carl Hess, Brake's foreman on the job, said electric power still was hooked up to the other two buildings when crews arrived at the site Wednesday morning so the middle building, also the biggest, was the first to go.

"About 10 people came by to watch," Hess said as he stood at the easternmost edge of the gas station property to watch Hendershot work.

It was an excellent and safe vantage point, allowing the viewer to look down at the destruction going on below.

"We're hoping to have all three buildings down by Friday," Hess said.

Borough officials issued a permit for a 11,000-square-foot pharmacy building earlier this year.

Michael Timmons, a partner in Timber Development Corp., the Florida-based development firm building the CVS Pharmacy, has said he expects the pharmacy will be ready to open by the end of the year.

The building, which will replace a CVS at 40 S. Broad St., will have two entrances and a drive-through window, Timmons has said.

The building being razed Wednesday was owned by Cyrus Reese of Waynesboro before it and the other two buildings were sold to Timber Development.

It was built in 1946 by D. Willard "Smitty" Smith. It opened Jan. 10, 1947, as the Waynesboro Bowling Center and became popular with students at the nearby high School who regularly stopped in for lunch and to bowl.

The business remained a family operation until the Smith family sold it in 1960. The building changed hands several times over the decades.

Ron Flegel, chief of the Waynesboro Fire Department, stopped by on his motor scooter Wednesday to watch the demolition and reminisce.

"I used to bowl here, and I've eaten a lot of hamburgers and french fries when I was in high school," he said.

"We always worried about this place catching on fire," Flegel said. "Once fire got up into that roof, there'd be no stopping it."

The building at 410 E. Main St., on the corner of Virginia Avenue, was built by Roy Hoffman at the end of World War II. Hoffman sold many of the popular car models of the day.

James Winebrenner bought the building from Hoffman and opened Waynesboro Automotive Supply in the building 25 years ago and stayed until Timber Development bought it.

Inside Chuck's Sunoco at 402 E. Main St. Wednesday, there still was evidence that the building had been an auto repair shop until recently.

The smell of grease permeated the place. Lettering on a shelf in the office proclaimed that it once held "Your Accessory Needs" and a few tires and debris littered the floor in front of the two bays.

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