Cool, scary, awesome among reactions to City Hall implosion

Jacksonville's old riverfront government building bites the dust

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Among those who headed downtown early Sunday morning to see the old City Hall come down, there were a few who were there when the building went up in the late 1950s and opened in 1960. 

Bill Tardiff watched the implosion from the 19th floor of the Wells Fargo building. 

“It was a unique structure at the time. It was exciting but sad to see that old building go," Tardiff said. "It was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Change is coming."

When the building first opened, some folks were confused on how to enter the what was then one of Jacksonville's tallest buildings, as the doors needed to be pulled rather than pushed open. There was also opposition to the new City Hall building as taxes went up to pay for it.

Max Romans also watched Sunday's implosion from an office tower higher than the old 15-story government building. 

“It was very enjoyable to watch. The implosion -- the shock wave that shot over this way -- was pretty awesome," Romans said.

BOLD CITY BLAST: Special section for full coverage, history of City Hall, Courthouse
IMAGES: The implosion from all angles
REWIND: Watch City Hall go back up, come down again
TIMELAPSE: Cloud of dust rises after implosion
DRONE VIDEO: 2 more views of City Hall blast

While the city did not set up any official public viewing site, people lined the Southbank Riverwalk to watch the spectacle. 

“It was pretty cool. It was scary!" Sophia Leone said.

Cool and scary were common words used to describe the implosion.

“I loved it," Curtis Gregg said. "It was my very first implosion I’ve ever seen in person. So it’s pretty cool>"

“I thought it was awesome," Donnie Clark said. "I’ve never seen one, but I’ve paid a share of my money in there.”

Another popular vantage point to watch the implosion was from the St. Johns River, either from a special River Taxi charter or private boats.

“It was big and then it got really dusty and then we started running away from the dust.” Taylor Lawhorn said from her boat.

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.