Above: The scene at 104 Duke St. after the building was taken down Friday, Dec. 10.
The building at 104 Duke Street, at the corner of Queen Street, came down midday Friday, after a firm push from the arm of a large excavator. The building creaked, things snapped and the bottom floor collapsed, leaving the top two stories sitting on the ground, seemingly intact, a bit like the house landing back on the ground in The Wizard of Oz.
Over the next two hours, A Macari Construction took care of what was still standing, pushing and chomping from the top until the whole of the nearly 100-year-old structure was in a heap on the ground.
A previous owner got permission to demolish the building back in July 2020, then decided to keep the building and rehab it, then changed his mind again, selling it with the demo permit still in place. The new owner, Touchdown Realty, has bought up several properties in town, including 319 Main Street, which will be condos, and two structures on Lion Street. In each of those cases, the buildings in question have been gutted but the exteriors have been saved. For 104 Duke, the plan is five townhouses facing Queen Street.
It’s the end of an era for everyone who grew up in EG in the mid-1900s when Tar Tar Ucci ran a small store on the bottom floor that was a gathering place and spot for essentials. Afterwards, some of the Ucci sisters opened a sandwich shop there popular with quahoggers and town workers, said Bruce Mastracchio, nephew of said sisters. With any luck, Bruce may have more to say on this subject.