Onlookers reminisce as crews demolish downtown Shakespeares

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COLUMBIA - People gathered in downtown Columbia Wednesday morning to watch crews demolish Shakespeare's Pizza's downtown location.

Stevi Ferguson woke her son Evan up 5 a.m. to watch the tractors take on the Columbia landmark.

"We came to watch some demolition," Ferguson said. "To get to see some tractors in action and say goodbye to Shakespeare's."

Ferguson said she shares memories of the pizza place with both her family and her friends.

"I've definitely been in and out of Shakespeare's a lot of times over the years," Ferguson said. "My husband and I have been on dates here, before we were married, after we were married. When we have friends and family from out of town, this is kind of a location to show off in Columbia."

She said watching the crew tear down the building was more emotion than she expected.

"It's just, you get used to the same helping us being there," Ferguson said. "With the landscaping looks like. Change is always a little bit bittersweet and exciting. We don't know when it's going to look like."

Randy Hutchinson heard about the demolition on KOMU 8 News and came to watch from across the street.

"It's going to be sad," Hutchinson said. "I've had a lot of good times in the old restaurant and obviously very good food. And so it's going to be well missed. But it will be exciting to see what the new place is going to be like."

Ferguson said she is also looking forward to what the new building will bring to downtown.

"We are excited to see what happens next and what changes may come and how that might change Ninth Street just a little bit," Ferguson said.

She said she was not for or against the demolition, but she understands the need for buildings to expand upward. 

"On one hand old buildings are awesome and you want to preserve the feel of downtown," Ferguson said. "But on the other hand space is limited and a way to kind of utilized as much space as you can."

Crews started demolition around 6 a.m. and planned to finish Wednesday afternoon.

KOMU 8 News tweeted throughout the demolition process.