LOGAN - The landscape of downtown Logan changed over the weekend.
On Friday, crews began the process of demolishing the Sayer building, which was the first building at Dingess and Water streets coming into the downtown business district. The demolition effort was ramped up on Saturday. By Monday, all that was left of the historic 101-year-old structure were debris and bricks.
Built in 1918, it originally housed the Midelburg Theatre for decades until it was purchased by the original Sayer brothers and turned into the Super S Discount Store. It was also home to Family Dollar in the 1990s and most recently a consignment shop in 2011.
Several years of a leaky roof caused water to seep down into cracks in the bricks of the side wall of the building, and freezing cold would expand the cracks. This eventually led to a section of the building's side wall bowing out and bricks falling.
City officials had hopes the building could be repaired, but those hopes were crushed April 26 when a large portion of the building's side wall collapsed into the intersection. No one was injured at what is usually a busy intersection on a Friday evening.
The future of the building's lot now remains uncertain.
"We'll just have to wait and see what the property owners do with it," said Mayor Serafino Nolletti. "I'd like to see something nice put there - something that will be beneficial to the whole community, whether it be another business or some type of, maybe a green space. Who knows what the future will bring? We'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out. I just hope it's something that will benefit all of us for the next 100 years."
Some residents of Logan County have suggested painting a mural on the adjacent Helig-Meyer Furniture building as a way to beautify the site. Several other towns and cities in West Virginia, such as the McDowell County seat of Welch, have taken that approach as a way to spruce up their downtown areas.
"The city should commission a local artist to paint a mural about the city on that wall once it's all cleaned up," said Will Blevins.
"I hope they paint the side of that building," Kay Browning said.
Nolletti said he thinks that a mural would be "fantastic," but noted that the city had plans of painting the side of the Sayer building at one time before it collapsed.
"That's a problem you run into when you do something like that to somebody else's property. Then after you spend a lot of money on somebody's property doing some type of mural or painting, there's no guarantee. If we would have spent $20,000 doing a mural on that building and then three years later, it's on the ground," he said. "That would be fantastic, but that's not our property either that next building belongs to someone, too. I'd love to see the property owner let us do something to it, but you just never know this next building could fall, too."
For now, Nolletti says he and other city officials are just relieved that it's finally down after a month and a half of headache caused by the collapse.
"It's a different look," he said. "After 100 years of that building being there, it's going to take some time for all of us to get used to it not being there, but it's a good feeling. It's a load off my shoulders and a load off the city's shoulders worrying every day that something was going to happen, somebody could get hurt or whatever. It's a relief, a big relief."
Nolletti said he is hopeful that the debris will be cleaned up by the time the West Virginia Freedom Festival rolls around on June 26. He also said he expects the traffic signals to be reinstalled within the coming days.
West Virginia Demolition is the contractor who handled the project.
Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196 or follow him on Twitter @DVidovichLB.