The process of bringing down Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium began Wednesday morning. The job is expected to take six months.
A crew from Anderson Excavating started the process at the main entrance. From there, crews will move to the inside and the demolition will be less visible from the outside.
Russ Mapes was among some 50 people who showed up to pay their final respects. The retired police officer watched his first game at the stadium in the early 1960s. He took a few pictures and left before the backhoe showed up. He said he couldn't bear to watch.
“My fondest memory would probably be growing up as a kid coming here, looking at it and being amazed because back then it only held about 9,000 people,” said Vince Toledo.
“We lived down the street and when we didn't get free tickets before the big fence was put up my sisters and I would climb the trees and watch the games from over the little fence,” said Mary Dilley.
“My wife decided to surprise me with my Father's Day gift, she and my sons had purchased the seats where my sons watched their first game in for Father's Day, so they're sitting at home in our rec room," said Chad Boyer.
Once the stadium is removed, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium plans to construct a commemorative park called Johnny Rosenblatt’s Infield at the Zoo, which will use elements of the existing stadium in its design.
The red, yellow and blue seats, the monumental arched Rosenblatt sign and outfield foul poles will be incorporated into the new project. The remainder of the space will become 900 stalls of paved parking with access to a new parkway to help facilitate parking for the 1.5 million annual zoo visitors.
Guests can expect to see construction begin on the new zoo entrance drive in about a month.