MANKATO, Minn. - They transformed the landscape of Mankato when they were built nearly 50 years ago, and now Gage Towers are no more.
The 12 story residence hall buildings were imploded Saturday morning. They were too costly to renovate.
It drew quite a crowd which is easy to do when you're using explosives.
Dave Boomgarden came to see the show with his daughter and son. His wife once lived in Gage hall and he said, "The kids wanted to see them blow something up."
Gage Towers were Minnesota State University Mankato's oldest residence hall.
Jenna Overland of Mankato lived there once and said, "Gage Hall is where I met some of my lifelong friends."
In all, about four thousand people showed up to watch the residence hall come down, the very dorm that housed the Vikings during training camp for decades.
Art Dore of Dore and Associates coordinated the implosion which he said took 300 pounds of explosives. Dore said, "It's always exciting. I don't know why. I've done 100s of them but it's fun."
Then right on time, at 9:30 a.m, you could hear a series of explosives popping. Then just seconds later the buildings both came down.
Shirley Olson was among those watching. She said, "I didn't know that would hurt so much. I didn't think I'd cry."
Olson and her husband Lyle have always lived just across the field from Gage, in the house where they raised their family. They saw Gage being built and then on Saturday their family watched it come down.
Daughter Lisa Czyz said, "It's overwhelming really. My entire life those buildings were there. That was just part of the landscape from our front window and now they're gone."
But the Olson's still have their memories, like of early Vikings training camps.
Son Arden Olson said, "You could go right up and hang out with the guys. It was really fun. I helped carry the stuff into the dorms to after practice. You could walk back almost into the locker room with them."
MSU Mankato President Richard Davenport said, "The Vikings were the very last occupants of the building last summer."
So where will the Vikings stay now? They will stay at the new Julia Sears dorm which has something Gage didn't, air conditioning. It's one of two new dorms replacing Gage.
Mankato has lost its tallest buildings.
This pile of rubble left behind will be removed and replaced with a parking lot.
And now the Olson's have a new view.
Lyle Olson said, "The sun set right behind the buildings and now we'll be able to see the sunset."
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