It's nice to know that the coldblooded destruction of local landmarks also happens outside the city of Houston. Today's victim: Gilley's.
The one-time Saturday night rodeo hotspot is being torn down this week by Kingwood-based Inland Environment Inc. at the behest of the Pasadena school district, which acquired the property through a tax default.
A fire claimed the club portion of Gilley's in 1990. The 60,000-square-foot arena was spared but has since been deserted.
The 13 1/2 -acre site is being cleared to make way for a middle school, school district spokesman Mark Kramer said.
The last go-round for the arena, which hosted a crowd of 10,000 for a George Strait concert and televised professional wrestling, attracted only a handful of onlookers Tuesday.
The demolition tumbled a holdover metal apostrophe and cursive S from the Gilley's lettering on the arena's facade. Moments later, after being struck by one of the excavators, the dusty marquee, bearing the words "WELCOME RODEO FANS," briefly hung in limbo before crashing in a heap of twisted scrap metal.
Inland Environment owner Jed Landrey, 36, said he and his employees scoured the arena for collectibles before the demolition started.
Landrey is keeping some of the items, including a calf-roping chute and a Gilley's sign, for a 20-acre farm he owns. Other signs and bull gates bearing the club's name, he said, will be sold online.
"I've always heard about Gilley's and watched" Urban Cowboy, Landrey said. "It was neat to get the job and see it in another way."