Roadhouse Down

Twenty Mile House demolitionYes, this post is a bit unusual. It’s not a regularly scheduled Sunday post and, although it is a Wednesday, it’s not one of the reviews that are often posted on that day. Nor is it the “real-time” announcement of the start of a road trip. This post concerns the Tuesday destruction of the 191 year old Twenty Mile House that was also the subject of a post in early 2012.

Twenty Mile House demolitionTwenty Mile House demolitionThe first of the two pictures at left was actually taken Monday evening. In recent days, there had been reports from Friends of 20 Mile House that demolition was imminent. It was reported on Monday that fence was being erected around the building and I drove by at the end of the day fearing that the tear down had already started. It hadn’t. When I read of the arrival of men and equipment on Tuesday morning, I once again headed toward the old landmark expecting to see mayhem in progress. I arrived with the building still intact but it wouldn’t be for long. The picture at the top of the article was taken at 9:05.

Twenty Mile House demolitionTwenty Mile House demolitionThe demolition proceeded rapidly and, despite the unhappy circumstances, it was impossible not to admire the skill of the operator as he worked his machine through the building. The additions of various ages went down first and, even though I certainly knew better, I kept hoping that something would happen to spare the 1822 heart of the building.

Twenty Mile House demolitionTwenty Mile House demolitionTwenty Mile House demolitionThen, in what looked to be as much accidental as planned, a corner fell away when an attached piece of a newer section was removed. One end of the old stagecoach stop was open and my foolish hopes were gone when the workers broke for lunch.

Twenty Mile House demolitionTwenty Mile House demolitionTwenty Mile House demolitionNot long after the men returned, there was an almost ceremonial toppling of one of the old chimneys and destruction of the original section began in earnest.

Twenty Mile House demolitionTwenty Mile House demolitionA second excavator had been brought in and it played the role of buttress as the oldest parts were brought down. At last there was just one section of wall standing with enough height to warrant attention. It was quickly leveled with a simple shove from the second machine.

Twenty Mile House demolitionRoughly six hours had passed since the first blow; A one hour lunch and five hours of destruction. A little less than two hours were spent leveling the section that had stood for a little less than two centuries. A Big Mike’s Gas N Go is to replace the rubble and I’ve no doubt that it will be constructed with the same level of efficiency as that with which the rubble was created. No one I know has any intention of ever spending a cent there but those people weren’t enough to save the Twenty Mile House and they probably won’t be enough to even get Big Mike’s attention in any significant way. There are more than enough people who don’t know or don’t appreciate history to make Mike some money. Big Mike’s will likely be profitable. It will never be loved.

8 thoughts on “Roadhouse Down

  1. Very good story, Please post some photos of the Big Mikes gas and go and the “improvements” they make on the site. I hope the community never forgets the men and their businesses who made the demolition of this historic Landmark possible….

    • Thank for the comment and thanks for the idea. I think I will do some sort of followup when Big Mike’s appears.

      Also big thanks for the great old pictures and such in Friends of 20 Mile House FB. Love ’em.

    • This one seems to trigger just about as much anger as sadness. Of course, maybe that’s true of any historic building loss that’s not from natural causes. Few people would be surprised to find speculators, developers, and officials with little vision or soul behind demolitions such as this.

  2. Pingback: Twenty Mile’s Last Stand | Denny G's Road Trips Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *