The stubborn brick walls of a Depression-era cold-storage building finally came tumbling down, after a five-day battle waged against 550 sticks of dynamite and a 2,600-pound steel wrecking ball.
The interior floors went early, but the walls vexed demolition experts. In addition to repeated dynamite blasts, engineers called in a steel wrecking ball with four sharp blades welded to it.
At first, the ball appeared to do little damage. After about 25 blows, the four blades fell off and one of the cables came loose. But the five-story shell finally came down.
Built in the mid-1930s by Works Progress Administration crews, the building had 1 million bricks and no windows. Designers J. B. Converse and N. H. Holmes, both now dead, built it so it never would fall.
The building had two concrete skeletons so that the outer walls could expand and contract while the inner walls remained cold.
The two skeletons were linked by specially designed cast iron anchors, allowing the walls to move differently, Holmes' son said.
The building was demolished to make room for a $15 million expansion of the Alabama State Docks grain storage complex on the Mobile River.