Demolished to make way for parking space
Mary Beth Sallee
Hart Co. News-Herald
Constructed in 1923, the old Western Auto building in downtown Horse Cave had once been utilized by the community in a variety of ways. Located on the corner of Main Street and Cave Street, the two-story concrete block building had served in years past as the home of the Horse Cave Post Office, Kentucky Utilities, and Western Auto.
On June 5, demolition of the building began to make way for a parking area for Master Pawn customers.
“From my understanding, the building was in very bad shape…” said Horse Cave Mayor Randall Curry.
Brian Meadows, owner of Master Pawn, also owned the Western Auto building. Although he understands the community’s historical and sentimental concerns, Meadows confirmed that the building was deemed unfit and that he went through all of the necessary steps and legal procedures.
“We went through everything we’re supposed to go through,” Meadows said.
He further stated that State Fire Marshall, Mike Killebrew, also examined the building.
“He came up here and met with the Historical Review Board…As they walked the site, it had been deemed uninhabitable,” Meadows said. “He (Killebrew) went over everything with them (the board) and told them that he could condemn the building and that it was not safe and it needed to be torn down for a dozen other reasons…”
The Horse Cave Board of Architectural Review conditionally approved Meadow’s Certificate of Appropriateness application based on the Horse Cave Local Historic Design Guidelines 2004. Meadows was given approval for the building to be demolished and a parking lot to be installed on the site.
Meadows would like it to be known that every action taken was done legally and by the book, including an asbestos inspection which showed that even the glue holding the black glass to the wall was made with asbestos. All permits that were filed and received are on file at Horse Cave City Hall.
“We want to follow the rules and do what we’re supposed to,” Meadows said. “…For the record and as a footnote, Chief Heather Childress was at the meeting where this all got brought up, as well as the Mayor, and Chief Childress brought up that whether the building was safe or not safe, it needed to be torn down for safety reasons. They (the Horse Cave City Council) passed a city ordinance closing parking in front of our store, and we have no handicap or elderly parking, so they’re going to close Main Street parking in front of my store on both sides going out to the right for quite a ways.”
During the demolition of the building, an excavator partially went through about two to three feet of the first level flooring of the former Western Auto building. CTS Towing, which has operators who are Wrecker Master and Miller Rotator School trained, arrived on the scene to help.
“The excavator weighed over 60,000 pounds,” explained Clifton Albert Parsley with CTS Towing. “There was a steel beam supporting the floor. Kevin Woods of Woods Excavating was operating it. He thought if he stayed on the beam, he would be okay, but it gave away with the end result of the excavator falling through. Kevin was not hurt seriously, just a little banged up. The excavator was allowed to sit overnight, and the next morning he pulled the injectors to relieve the pressure on the cylinders. This allowed the engine to turn freely. He reinstalled the injectors and finished the job. The machine did suffer minor cosmetic damage, nothing serious.”
Meadows confirmed that no one was seriously hurt in the incident.
The next step in the process will include Meadows receiving a drawing from an engineer for the space to be utilized as a parking area. The construction is expected to begin soon. There is no estimated time of completion.