One last piece of Youngsville furniture factory comes down

Tom Hunt of Hunt Construction of Erie brings down the western wall of the Forest Furniture factory’s elevator shaft Thursday afternoon.

It took a full day, but the final piece of the old Youngsville Star and Forest furniture factory is down.

The brick elevator shaft survived the dropping of the rest of the building.

On Thursday, it survived the removal of almost two full sides of itself.

Tom Hunt of Hunt Construction of Erie did not rush the demolition.

“I could have pushed it over a couple times when I had my bucket against it,” Hunt said. “The problem was those power lines.”

The lines and railroad tracks run just north of the building site. Had the bricks toppled in that direction, they could have caused problems with both.

The elevator shaft was made of several courses of brick. The bathroom buildings were attached to the shaft, but were not so sturdy and were easily dropped at the beginning of Thursday’s demolition.

Hunt waited until almost the entire southern and western walls were gone so he could be confident of the rest of the drop.

“I knocked out the front wall first,” he said. “I ripped out most of the metal that was inside. Then I took out the west wall. Once that was out, I had to move my perch, and I got on the east wall and I put my bucket on it to control.”

Utilities and railroads? “It didn’t come close,” Hunt said. “It dropped exactly where I wanted it to go. No one got hurt. The machine didn’t get hurt.”

“Tom did his job,” property owner Troy Clawson said. “I think everything went as planned.”

The plan wasn’t exactly set in stone. “The plan was, ‘this is what we think is going to happen,'” Clawson said. “There were a lot of contingencies.”

“Now is the hard part,” he said.

Hunt will continue at the site with clean-up. About 20 dumpster loads have already been removed from the site.

Once the property is cleaned up, the future is wide open.

Troy and Wendy Clawson acquired the property in 2013.

The demolition was not purely aesthetic.

“We’re looking to the future,” Troy Clawson said. “We know there’s potential there.”

“We’ve had five or six ideas for the property,” he said.

Recreation features strongly into those plans.

An indoor sports facility would appeal to his interest in soccer. “That was our original plan,” he said.

But, with some encouragement from Nancy Holmberg and Joanne Oviatt of Revitalization of Youngsville, the Clawsons are thinking the property would be appropriate for a hunting and fishing museum. “That might be a perfect fit,” Clawson said. “It’s right there on the banks of the Brokenstraw.”

The site has other advantages. “It’s zoned industrial,” he said. “It’s right on (Route) 6. It’s on the tracks.”

Whether one of the ideas they’ve already had or something else, “we want to do something… develop it to help the area,” he said.

No matter what, expect to see a significant indoor playground in the plans, Clawson said. “That’s one of the big things that Wendy wants to do.”