Looming in the skyline next to the Garner Apartments stood its fate - the wrecking ball.
Garner's date with the ball of destruction was slated for 10 a.m., and the excitement of watching Nacogdoches' tallest building become Nacogdoches' tallest pile of bricks began to attract people from around the area to the nearby parking lots on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.
A small crowd had begun to gather a little before 10, all hoping to find a good, safe seat to watch the highly anticipated show.
As the time grew closer, people began to line Wilson Drive, and the surrounding lots filled with even more people ready for the action.
Excitement and anticipation grew as 10 a.m. grew closer, and then passed. Then 10:30 a.m. came and went.
Minutes before 11 a.m., the wrecking ball rose into the air. The crowd sprang to its feet, holding kids, cameras and collective breaths.
The ball slowly swung back, then swung forward - and then lightly tapped the roof. A groan of disappointment could be heard echoing through the crowd.
The crane swung out again and brought the wrecking ball against the side again, this time a little harder.
Again and again the ball smashed against the roof, when large chunks of debris finally began to fall, the crowd yelled and cheered with excitement.
As the minutes passed, rubble slowly poured from Garner as the ball continued to rock against the side. But the show was not a spectacular as many had envisioned.
"I came out here and really wanted to see the building just collapse," said Vincent Davis, an SFA student. "But it has been slow and steady. No real 'wow' factor."
The crowd began to dwindle, settling with the thought that at least they could say they were there when it happened.
"I thought it was going to come down pretty quickly, but it's going to take all day," said Taylor Hawkings, another SFA student. "I recorded the beginning, and if I didn't have stuff to do, I'd probably stay."
Demolition is expected to last over the next three weeks, certainly longer than anyone had planned to watch.
The picture above was my view. It seemed like the sun shone on the obsolete structure like a spotlight. Sitting there, I felt as if I was holding its hand (paw), comforting it, much like one might with an elderly pet as it was about to be put down at the end of a long life. Nearly an hour after it was set to begin, the wrecking ball began to swing. I could only bear to watch the first four or five swings, and saw enough rubble and dust fall to the ground, then headed home, sure the building would be gone next time I drove by the campus.
Morning of Sunday, February 7th, 2010