SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The remaining buildings at the old Pillsbury Mills site are set to be demolished. 

Chris Richmond, the president of Moving Pillsbury Forward, the organization that acquired the site, said they’ll start by tearing down the first 50,000 square feet of the property.

“We haven’t seen buildings come down here at the Pillsbury site for over 10 years now, and it’s time to get going at it again, and we couldn’t be more pleased to see that this progress is actually happening,” Richmond said.

Demolition activities have already begun removing siding from one of the structures so that it doesn’t pose a risk as they work to teardown the site.

In October, the group went forward with plans to demolish the warehouse after environmental testing found very negligible amounts of toxic materials.

The factory opened in May 1929 and at one point, 1,500 people worked there. Richmond, whose father worked at Pillsbury for more than 20 years, said for some in the community, it’s a tough transition.

“For many that live in the community in the Pillsbury neighborhood, this is a really kind of an emotional time, in that [it’s] been a part of our lives … our entire life, is in fact starting to disappear,” Richmond said. “That realization couldn’t be more stark than it is today when we see heavy equipment starting to take things down.”

Richmond plans to give some items from the site to a museum including an early version of a Pillsbury Doughboy. Because of the site’s long history in Springfield, the group will have a photographer take photos to archive the site. 

They expect to finish the teardown in three years.