Well-Known Water Tower Demolished in Chelsea

"It's like losing a friend," Earnest said

The water tower at Soldiers' Home was more of a lighthouse in Chelsea, a sign you were back where you belonged.

"You saw the water tower, you knew you were home," said Richie Cormier who lives down the roaod.

The housing development has been a sign of hope for veterans. Old soldiers have been staying on this land dating back to the Civil War.

Gordon Earnest has know the feeling for 17 years.

"I ended up homeless due to my drug addiction and drinking and everything and this place really saved my life," said Earnest.

In a controlled demolition at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, the tower came down.

"It's home," Earnest said. "I hate to see it go, but it's progress."

Progress is coming in the form of a new community living center.

"(They have) private rooms to give more privacy in a home-like environment," Cheryl Lussier Poppe, superintendent of Soldiers' Home, said. "It's what our veterans deserve."

The new building will have 154 beds built solely for Veterans. It will open in Spring of 2022.

"As much as this tower means to the community, we know that the space is needed to be able to build the wing of 154 rooms," Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans' Services Francisco Urena said.

There comes a time when progress trumps nostaliga - when an old water tower has to be taken down to move forward, but it doesn't mean change is easy.

"It's like losing a friend," Earnest said.

The plan is to cut the tower into small pieces and remove it from the property so they can continue to build.

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