As we approach the implosion of the Innerbelt Bridge this Saturday morning, let’s take a look back 32 years to the spectacular, albeit dusty, implosion on Cleveland’s Public Square.
The morning of Oct. 3, 1982 was a warm, pleasant morning. It was the last day two Cleveland landmark structures would call Public Square home.
The two buildings, the Cuyahoga and the Williamson, were deemed to be “blighted”, a designation to clear them from the space to be the new home of the Sohio Building. The new Sohio Building would later be known as the BP Building and now is called the 200 Public Square Building.
Eager to have a new skyscraper on its skyline for a major Cleveland company, the historic buildings were going to come down.
A side note, originally the Sohio Building was to be taller than the Terminal Tower, but city officials objected and it was built 50 feet shorter than the 708 feet Terminal Tower.
WEWS carried the implosion live that Sunday morning. Eileen Korey anchored our coverage. She was atop Stouffer’s Inn on the Square (now the Renaissance) with videographer Jim Lentz. Yours truly had Chopper 5 duty.
Our chopper footage is shaky because there was a blast zone set up and we were kept at a fair distance from the implosion.
With a push of a button, two buildings fall with precision but also with an amazing amount of dust.
I’ve added a story from our Alan DePetro, shot by Brian Archer. To this day, it remains one of my favorite DePetro stories. He captures not only the anticipation and excitement of the implosion, but also the fear of a crowd engulfed in dust.