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Legendary water tower at Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea comes down

The red-and-white checkered water tower at the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea came down around noon Wednesday to make way for a long-term care facility for veterans, replacing the current one, said Tim Leazott, director of communications for Soldiers’ Home.
The red-and-white checkered water tower at the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea came down around noon Wednesday to make way for a long-term care facility for veterans, replacing the current one, said Tim Leazott, director of communications for Soldiers’ Home. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff)

A mainstay in the Chelsea community for the last 60 years finally came down Wednesday afternoon.

The red-and-white checkered water tower at the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea came down around noon Wednesday to make way for a long-term care facility for veterans, replacing the current one, said Tim Leazott, director of communications for Soldiers’ Home.

Cuts were made to the 145-foot tower’s legs, similar to how trees would be cut if they were to be felled, and, after a horn echoed in the area, two excavators helped guide the tower down, letting “gravity do its thing,” Leazott said.

The entire demolition lasted a matter of seconds and went “fairly quickly once gravity took over,” he said.

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“It was a controlled demolition, and it went well,” Leazott said in a brief telephone interview after the demolition. “Now, we’re on to the next stage.”

Following the demolition, the tower will be dismantled to later be shipped offsite, he said.

The tower was built in 1958 and decommissioned in 2011, the Globe reported in December. It hadn’t held water for about 10 years, Leazott said.

The iconic Soldiers' Home Water Tower was taken down.
The iconic Soldiers' Home Water Tower was taken down.(Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff)

The state tried to incorporate it into the plans for the new care facility, but that ultimately didn’t work out, the Globe reported. In November, Soldiers’ Home held a farewell ceremony for the tower because of the community’s sentiment surrounding it.

“We understand the community’s affection for the tower and what it means to everyone all points north of Boston,” Leazott said. “They understand that in order to build this new community living center, it needs to happen. While they’re sad for it to go, they’re excited for the new plans.”

The care facility will house 154 beds for veterans, Leazott said. The $199 million project is set to be completed by 2022, he said.

Spectators took photos and video of the iconic Soldiers' Home Water Tower.
Spectators took photos and video of the iconic Soldiers' Home Water Tower.(Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff)

Breanne Kovatch can be reached at breanne.kovatch@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @breannekovatch.

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