Demolition of historic roundhouse begins in Two Harbors
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
The roundhouse in Two Harbors is coming down. A ceremony was held on Tuesday to mark the beginning of the structure’s demolition. Mayor Randy Bolen, City Council President Jerry Norberg and Councilor Roger Simonson each took a swing at the structure with a golden sledge hammer around 1 p.m., with larger equipment expected to arrive and begin work later that day.
“Everything is kicking off this afternoon,” said Bolen to a small group of reporters. The roundhouse was the subject of some controversy earlier in the year when engineer John Ilse approached the city about purchasing and restoring the building. Some community members sided with Ilse, filling the chambers when he made a presentation before the council.
Ultimately, the council decided in favor of the building’s demolition, saying that the structure is beyond repair and estimates to restore it exceeded its value.
Norberg estimated that demolition of the roundhouse would be complete by Christmas, paving the way for new businesses to move in.
“We have people interested in this property, but I’m not at liberty to talk about it,” he said. Just before swinging the hammer, Norberg said the demolition marked a new beginning for the community and its economy.
“We’re Two Harbors and we’re open for business, he declared.
Asked of the city intended to preserve anything from the landmark structure, Bolen said that a plaque from an overhead crane inside the roundhouse would be taken to city hall for display.