By Seth Daniel and Katy Rogers
For more than a few Chelsea residents, the Soldiers’ Home red and white checkers water tower defined home.
It was something they saw from planes, looked at in the rearview mirror when headed over the Mystic/Tobin Bridge, and could see from nearly every corner of the city.
Now, it’s only a memory.
The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home water tower came down on Wednesday afternoon, May 29, about 1 p.m. after many months of waiting for the right conditions to knock down the tower so as to make way for the $199 million state-of-the-art veterans hospital and living center.
Both could not exist in tandem, and after a long and passionate discussion last year about the tower, the community conceded to let the tower go.
About 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the demolition crew moved in to prepare a 200 foot perimeter at Malone Park for the tower to fall onto. That took several hours, but then about 12:30, work began on the legs. One leg on the north side was sawn off, and then the tower was simply pushed over.
It came down with a huge thud, but remained mostly intact.
The company that took it down also had most recently taken down the water tower at the Weymouth Air Station on the South Shore.
Many people from the community gathered to watch the tower come down, and television crews from the Boston media were out in force with cameras and helicopters. Afterward, Superintendent of the Chelsea Soldiers Home Cheryl Lussier Poppe addressed the media, explaining that the tower removal will allow for improvements and construction to the new veterans home that will replace the aging Quigley Hospital.