The walls came tumbling down, and it didn’t take that long.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 8, part of Humboldt’s history as a downtown came to a crashing end. Workers and machines from Midwest Construction Services of Fort Dodge, a sub-contractor for general contractor Sande Construction of Humboldt, demolished the Parley Finch buildings, 611-615 Sumner Avenue. Most of the buildings came down in relatively quick fashion, shortly after 2 p.m. An hour later, it was mostly rubble.
Parley Finch was a pioneer citizen in the community (moving to Springvale, as Humboldt was then called, eight years after the town was formed). An attorney by trade, he was an active civic leader, serving as the town’s mayor in a period of robust growth in the mid 1880s and early 1890s. He served as a state representative and state senator in the late 1800s.
In 1897, Finch built a fine stone structure on the north side of the 600 block of Sumner Avenue. Two years later he built the three-story matching brick building at 615 Sumner. The new structure housed the Post Office, Stanhope Grocery and Sherman’s Meat Market in the early years of its existence.
Some in the community began to reference the buildings as the Housel buildings, in reference to Finch’s son-in-law and grandson, who followed him in the law practice downtown.
Workers continued to dismantle the front of the building late last week, and are currently in the process of hauling out the rubble from the demolition. Sande Construction with follow with dirt hauling and leveling, preparing the area for a pedestrian park and walking space between downtown and the Humboldt Public Library.
The area will undergo a lot of change in this, Humboldt’s 150th year as a town.
For more photos of the demolition, check out The Humboldt Independent by clicking on the subscription link. Purchase photos of the historical event by clicking on the Buy A Photo link on this web site.