The Walker Home Supply building was demolished today to make way for a new Family Dollar parking lot and business, which is slated for construction later this fall. Dozens of people were out on Broadway watching the demolition and many said they were “sad” to see it go.
Vernon Bell, a cousin of Mike Walker–the building’s most recent owner, said bringing down the building is just a part of progress, but he was sad to see it go having many fond memories of time he spent with the Walkers in it. Bell said he has been back in Goreville for the past 15/16 years and stopped by to take pictures to send to family up north so they could see what has become of the building they all have known so well. His great aunt and Walker’s great aunt were sisters.
“Uncle Sam [Walker] used to restore old clocks, a lot of old clocks, and people would come from all around to see his collection,” Bell said, recalling his time with Mike Walker and his family. About the building coming down for a Family Dollar Bell said, “Progress is progress.”
Most people watching the demolition said they were surprised by the “suddenness” of its demise. It wasn’t long after the first blow to the back walls before a picture was posted to Facebook by onlookers such as life-long Goreville resident Frank Sullivan who wrote on his post, “No more lumberyard!”
“It is sad,” said Sullivan, watching his boyhood haunt demolished. Sullivan said he worked for the Walkers in the early 70s while he was a student at Goreville High School. “We’ve been eating and drinking coffee there all my life. I was inside with Mike [Walker] just yesterday having coffee.”
Sullivan and others said the building has long since been a place where friends have gathered to share stories, find out town news, socialize, talk politics and have coffee as Walker has played host over the years sharing his own tales and talk of yesterdays and tomorrows.
“It was really sad when the economy took a turn for the worse and Mike [Walker] had to shut the business down last year,” Sullivan added, saying much of the new construction in the area as recently as just a few years ago were supplied by Walker’s. “I and others have made a lot of friends in the building and also shared a lot of time with friends in the building. It’s sad to see it go.”
Goreville resident Lauren Jenkins rushed from work in time to witness the building’s final front walls come down and agreed with others it was “sad” to see a place she connected with her father and grandfather growing up in Goreville.
“On weekends when I would stay over with my grandparents my grandpa [J.W. Jenkins] would take me downtown, that’s what he would say, ‘we’re going downtown,’ and we would always spend time with the Walkers in there,” said Jenkins, as she snapped a few pictures on her phone of the building coming down. Jenkins joined a few others in picking up a brick or two as a memento for herself and family members as trucks delivered industrial trash bins to cart the material off site. Jenkins said she felt like a piece of her childhood was lost with the old building gone.
Several onlookers snapped pictures and just watched as the demolition continued, which began early in the morning and finished by approximately 4 p.m. before a thunderous rain storm passed through Goreville settling the dust of the Walker Home Supply building demolition.
Check back for more information and more pictures soon.