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Chelsea Soldiers' Home Water Tower Torn Down

CHELSEA (CBS) - It's the end of an icon. The Soldiers' Home water tower in Chelsea came down to make room for a new, state of the art facility for veterans.

The water tower was a landmark for the community. Just as important to residents as the Citgo sign or the Hancock Tower. And it was a beacon leading people home.

It was a dramatic ending for the tower as construction crews dropped it where it has stood for 61 years. "It's just an icon. Everybody knows the tower," says Michelle Taylor, one of many people who stood on the street for a last glimpse of the tower.

Chelsea Tower
Crews topple the Soldiers' Home water tower in Chelsea. (WBZ-TV)

"That's the way they know to get to Chelsea, based on looking at the Soldiers' Home, the tower itself," adds Emilio Bonilla, who also watched the landmark come down.

The out of commission water tower was taken down to make room for a new community living center for veterans, a $200-million project with 154 rooms.

"We know it's bittersweet to lose this icon that they've had, but they've shown their support for veterans," says Cheryl Lussier Poppe, the superintendent of the Soldiers' Home.

The fallen water tower in Chelsea. (WBZ-TV)

Wednesday was D-Day. Two of the tower's legs were cut, a cable was attached to earth moving equipment that pulled on the structure until it dropped, in seconds.

"Today's controlled demolition was many months of planning. Now we chop it up into little pieces, and we start the removal process of taking away the water tower," says Matthew Consigli of Consigli Construction, the company that pulled off the demolition.

"I'll miss it, and I think a lot of the people here are going to miss it," says Jack Wall, a Chelsea resident.

"I think it's going to be good for the veterans. It has to come down because there's going to be a new facility," adds Tom Kasiecki.

That new facility should be finished in about two years.

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