Collapsed building brings back family memories

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TUSCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — Rubble is all that’s left of a century-old building in downtown. The old Dixie Cream Donut Shop near North Parke and West Pembroke crumbled Thursday afternoon.  

No one was hurt, but the demolition wasn’t planned. 

“I was actually really scared,” said Katelyn Cler of Tuscola. She caught the aftermath of the building’s sudden collapse Thursday afternoon. 

“The back far side over here just broke out, the bricks just bent it out, and it all fell in and rolled out,” she said. “A huge, huge cloud just rolled everywhere.” 

The city administrator said the building had known structural issues that the owner, the city’s building inspector, was trying to fix. The inside was gutted, barricades were placed around the building and they tried to shore up the walls. But they didn’t hold.  

“We were all kind of freaked out by it,” said Cler. 

The building has been a part of her life since she was a child.   

“Honestly I was a little upset by it because I’ve had some great memories with some friends running around by that building too. We’ve even got pictures with it,” she said. 

Cler isn’t the only one with cherished memories of the place. Candy Crawford’s grandparents started the Dixie Cream Donut Shop in the building around 1970.

“It’s a lot of history for our family,” said Crawford. It’s also a lot of history for the town. 

“If you’ve talked to anyone who’s lived here very long at all, they will remember the Dixie Cream Donuts.” 

The family ran the business for 35 years, with each generation, grandparents, to children, grandchildren and great grandchildren pitching in. 

“My grandma would come to work at 1:30 in the morning, every day that dough was made fresh,” said Crawford. “And those doughnuts were cranked out. When I would come to work at five in the morning, we’d start packing boxes. Even our children worked there.” 

But the doors closed years ago, and it’s sat vacant for 20 years. Now, what Crawford has left, are the memories. 

“It’s sad, it’s sad for sure.” 

The building inspector said he bought the building a year ago and didn’t realize then how bad of shape the structure was in. He said he didn’t have any plans for it because he said it should have been torn down some time ago. 

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