Iconic 'Leaning Tower of Dallas' Finally Topples Over

Tue March 10, 2020 - West Edition #6
Associated Press


The 11-story building was supposed to be demolished on Feb. 16, but a part of the structure would not come down, which caused an internet and media sensation. It took another two weeks for it to officially topple.
(Benjamin Bratcher photo)
The 11-story building was supposed to be demolished on Feb. 16, but a part of the structure would not come down, which caused an internet and media sensation. It took another two weeks for it to officially topple. (Benjamin Bratcher photo)

DALLAS (AP) The "Leaning Tower of Dallas," the nearly iconic remnant of a high-rise building implosion gone awry, finally collapsed in a cloud of dust on March 2 after two weeks of being whacked with a headache ball.

The tower collapsed at about 3:15 p.m. after a few last whacks with a wrecking ball swung by a high-rise crane. No injuries were reported.

The tower was the core of an 11-story building that was imploded with explosives on Feb. 16. The 11 floors surrounding the core duly collapsed, but the solid concrete core containing the stairway and elevator shafts remained standing at an angle. The demolition contractor has been whacking away at it ever since with a 5,600-lb. wrecking ball.

A spokeswoman for De La Vega Development, which is redeveloping the site, had said immediately after the implosion that the tower's demolition could take up to four days. It ended up taking almost four times that amount of time before it was taken down.

In the meantime, the tower drew hundreds of people who took often-whimsical photographs of themselves with the tower in the background.

Designer Glad It's Hard to Topple

The designer of the "Leaning Tower of Dallas" has been taking a wry pride in the stubborn resistance the creation is presenting to explosives and the wrecking ball.

Thomas Taylor is the principal design engineer for Dallas-based Datum Engineers, which designed the 49-year-old, 11-story Affiliated Computer Services building that explosives mostly brought tumbling down Feb. 16. The concrete core that contained the stairway and elevator shafts remained after the dust settled.

The column was left leaning by the pull of the rest of the crumbling building. That core was the stabilizing element that supported the 11 floors, Taylor told WFAA-TV. He compared it to a tree trunk and the rest of the building to the branches and leaves.

Taylor also said that, as he understood the plan, the demolition charges were supposed to sever all of the branches and leaves and cut off the core at its base, toppling it to the ground.

The problem is it didn't topple all the way, leaving the demolition contractor to chip away at the cast-in-place concrete with a wrecking ball. A spokeswoman for the developer and the demolition contractor said earlier this week the process could take weeks.

"Nobody ever told me to make it easy to demolish," Taylor said.