Since the 1930s, the two-story building has stood on West Erwin against the effects of time and weather, but with the first swat of a large bucket on a heavy piece of machinery Monday, the walls began to fall to make way for much-needed downtown Tyler parking.
Built in 1932 to house Wheeler Memorial Hospital during a time before East Texas Medical Center and Trinity Mother Frances, the hospital served Tyler with a 19-bed facility, according to records from the Smith County Historical Society.
The hospital was only open a few years before it shut down and the building remained vacant until an economic boom in the 1950s, when it was remodeled for individual office spaces.
It is unclear when the last tenant moved out, but the owners of the Tyler Morning Telegraph bought the building and have used it as meeting rooms and then later for storage over the past decade.
Publisher Nelson Clyde IV stood in the rear of the building Monday looking up at the huge hole in the old building and said it was in the name of progress.
"Our architects spent about seven minutes in there before they told us we should tear it down," he said.
Enter Tyler Demolition Inc. and the crew of Breck Watson and the company's heavy machinery.
Watson said he believed the project would take about a week to complete.
Workers continue this morning with the project.