April 16, 2010

Building Collapse in Lancaster

A building collapsed in Lancaster on Wednesday morning. It was unoccupied, and there were only a few minor injuries reported, to some riders on a city bus that was hit by debris (although I always feel that if it were me, I don't know how "minor" I would consider any injury!). Above is the view from the first block of East Chestnut St., below is the view turning the corner onto N. Queen. About a third of the front of building collapsed spontaneously, and more was demolished later in the day to temporarily stabilize the situation. I took these with my iPhone camera, and once again I'm impressed at how well it works.

For many years the building housed the Empire Appliance Store, familiar to generations of Lancastrians who shopped there before the big box stores came to town. Recently it was slated to become the new home of the Lancaster Museum of Art, but funding difficulties in the recession put the kibosh on those plans. The lot next to it is being excavating for a planned garage/condominium project, and there's speculation that the excavation contributed to the collapse; the insurance companies and lawyers will doubtless wrangle over this.

Aside from the morass of all the practical concerns in a situation like this, I am struck by the imagery. It's such a unexpected and unprecedented view into the interiors, that reveals both architectural/construction details, and glimpses of how the space was apportioned and utilized.
It's currently undecided whether the structure will be stabilized and rebuilt, or further demolished. Either way, I will be there with camera in hand.


RedHeadedQuilter said...

I am fascinated by old buildings, especially abandoned ones. There are some amazing photo galleries online of old abandoned mental hospitals. I found them when I was doing research for my novel and wanted to know what those places were like in the 1920s.

I don't know what it is about peeking into creepy, empty places, but I love stumbling across photos online.

Will you be turning this into a quilt?

Sue Reno said...

It may become a quilt, I'm sorely tempted....so many ideas, never enough time.