French Quarter

Bob Klumm, with Klumm Brothers Excavating and Demolition, presented the French Quarter demolition plans to residents of the Perrysburg Commons Retirement Center during a demolition watch party held Friday morning.  

PERRYSBURG — Cheers went up as the Holiday Inn French Quarter’s walls came down on Friday.

The Perrysburg Commons Retirement Center held a demolition watch party for the well-known hotel.

Wearing blue hard hats, residents relaxed with donuts and coffee, with front row seats to watch as a giant wrecking ball swung from a crane in true Wile E. Coyote cartoon style. The retirement center entrance faces the French Quarter property and residents sat in the parking lot to watch the demolition.

Susan Snoddy, the Perrysburg Commons community coordinator, came up with the idea for the event.

“Heck yes. It’s a huge landmark over there. Everyone has such great memories. I just wanted to have a little celebration outside and watch together,” Snoddy said.

Bob Klumm, owner of Klumm Brothers Excavating and Demolition, gave a presentation on what his company is doing, which was punctuated by the crashing of walls and crushing of stone.

The demolition started on Tuesday, but the changes didn’t become obvious outside the job site until Thursday, when the walls of the central section of the building were knocked down to all the crane with the wrecking ball to take center stage.

Klumm described how the ball is swung to take out some of the higher floors, but there were changes needed beforehand. The big crane sits where the pool was. The company first had to fill the pool with crushed stone and brick for the crane to sit on.

“The entire building is coming down at this point. Early on there were talks of leaving this back section, but there was so much integration of the electric and water supply, they were all tied together, to re-divert all those utilities made it cost prohibitive,” Klumm said.

Klumm Brothers is one of the largest demolition firms in Northwest Ohio. They recently did the demolition on Harshman Hall at Bowling Green State University.

One of the unusual aspects of Klumm Brothers is the ability to recycle and reuse basic raw materials. The concrete and asphalt will be hauled away, crushed and separated from the other building materials. That will then be sold for other projects, with much being used for road building.

Kelly Ebersbach, Perrysburg Commons executive director, talked about some of the deeper need for a community gathering and finding the excuse for a little party.

“The whole COVID thing has kept people pretty isolated. A lot of (residents) haven’t seen their families for months. It’s kind of opened up, so they could go outside. We still aren’t allowing any visitors inside. We have a closed courtyard and we have been allowing families in there with 6-foot distancing for visiting outside,” Ebersbach said.

Ebersbach said she appreciates how lucky the facility has been during the pandemic. While nursing homes and retirement communities have been some of the hardest hit sections of society, their facility has not yet had a coronavirus case.

Residents reminisced and shared memories.

“Had a lot of gatherings there. Always had our Clay High School class reunion at the French Quarter. Great place to go eat with friends and I have been there a lot over the years. Our Zenobia Shrine ladies always held their ceremonies at the French Quarter,” wrote Marilyn Brossia as part of a memory book the Perrysburg Commons staff put together.

The hotel opened in April 1967. The New Orleans style decor with a restaurant, pool and hot tub helped to make the hotel popular for more than 50 years. The meeting halls made it a popular spot for events like weddings, family trips and conferences.

“That’s where my husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary with our 17 kids and grandkids. A lot of class reunions from the class of ‘47 from Perrysburg,” said resident Betty Koluch.

Their Czecho-Slovak Society fraternal organization held many of its national congress at the French Quarter.