Starting Monday, Sedalia gets a little less eyesore-y (I used it in print, so “eyesore-y” now is a legitimate adjective).
According to a report in Wednesday’s edition of the Democrat, the Broadway Arms is finally being torn down. The building, located in the 200 block of East Broadway Boulevard just north of Yummy’s Donuts (the former Griff’s Burger Bar, for those of us with enduring cases of grease-borne indigestion), once was a senior residence center. Over time it fell into disrepair and, according to a Democrat story from years ago written by then-reporter Sarah Nail, its ownership became muddy after the property was burdened with a series of tax liens.
Back in May, Sedalia City Administrator Gary Edwards told me that the city was making plans to demolish Broadway Arms because it had become a health and safety hazard. It certainly looks like a hazard from the outside, due to the boarded-up windows and graffiti. When I worked at the Democrat, I wondered how long it would take before the building collapsed and the rubble ended up in the paper’s loading dock area. With ground-level windows covered precariously, I also wondered who or what was taking up temporary residence inside.
Wednesday’s report stated: “It is unknown whether demolition crews will take more than one day to destroy the building. The length of time depends on what crews find when they start tearing it down.”
Just about anyone who has lived in Sedalia for more than a couple of years has a theory on what is inside Broadway Arms today. I’m banking on the crews finding 873 cats, the high-visibility yellow couch that was in former City Administrator Keith Riesberg’s office and the recipe for the original Wheel Inn guberburger.
Since rampant speculation is America’s favorite pastime, I asked some local residents for their thoughts on the contents – it’s like guessing what is inside the big box on “Let’s Make a Deal,” only with more vermin and less Rice-A-Roni.
Stephanie Lefevers is looking for a different recipe.
“I just want them to find a little old lady’s original fried chicken recipe,” she said. “KFC has nothing on Granny Taylor, God rest her soul! She was some kind of cook! If they find a vault of old lady recipes, I’m all in!”
Dave Clippert thinks Broadway Arms may have become some kind of historic sink hole. He is expecting to see “Jimmy Hoffa, the Lost Colony of Roanoke, one of the three Alcatraz escapees and George Washington’s false teeth.” In the same vein, Doug Sokolowski guessed “Al Capone’s real vault. D.B. Cooper and the remaining bags of money he had … and a whole abandoned center dedicated to the search of the Beaman Monster with maps, photos and drawings of where he is thought to live.”
Jennifer Langdon hopes to find “my jump rope that someone jacked from my apartment’s alley” and Dusty Gosnell offered up “Kmart and Bing’s ads from about 1995, keys to a ‘85 Chevy Caprice and possibly an old promotional poster for pro wrestling at Liberty Park.”
Leslee Howard thinks the crews will find the guest books for Sedalia’s old-time brothels (know your local history). Rhiannon Foster’s thoughts drifted to the lot next door.
“A super stash of Griff’s cheeseburgers,” she said. “Admit it, we all miss them.”
All of these are fine guesses, and due to the size of Broadway Arms it is possible that all that stuff is in there. But faced with reality TV, never-ending online trolling and the current election climate, Matt LaCasse may have provided all of us a glimmer of hope.
“With any luck, it’ll be our society’s lost dignity,” he said.
I’ll bet someone left it on Riesberg’s couch.
Bob Satnan is the communications director for Sedalia School District 200.