posted by Christopher Swope
What do you do when you throw a demolition party, but the building to be imploded refuses to cooperate?
Sioux Falls, South Dakota has this problem now. On Saturday, the Zip Feed tower, the tallest structure in the whole state, was wired with explosives and readied for obliteration. The Chamber of Commerce threw a party, crowds gathered in the streets, and everybody waited in anticipation for the big detonation at exactly 12:55 p.m. Then something went hilariously wrong.
Three! Two! One! Kabooooom!
The explosives went off, alright. But the sturdy old tower wouldn't fall. The base collapsed, causing the remainder of the building to drop to the ground. But then it just stood there, pitched slightly to the side. The crowd roared with laughter. It's the Leaning Tower of Sioux Falls. The two videos on the Argus Leader's website will be the funniest things you see all day.
Demolition is becoming a great American past time. When cities blow up old stadiums or public housing complexes, they're increasingly turning the spectacle into a big civic event. Sioux Falls used the Zip bonanza to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis society.
Ironically, Sioux Falls is getting some extra milage out of the botched demolition. Since Saturday, the leaning tower has become a hot tourist attrraction. Seizing the moment, the MS Society is now selling "OOPS!" T-shirts. Enjoy the fun while it lasts. The demolition contractor is winding up for a second shot at the Zip--this time with a wrecking ball.
Photo: Hoby Brenner