Dismantling, salvaging process begins at Chelsea’s Weldon building

The city of Chelsea began the process of dismantling the Weldon building on Shelby County 47 on Thursday, Feb. 2. Mayor Tony Picklesimer said the process is expected to span several days.

According to Picklesimer, certain parts of the building will be salvaged and incorporated in the construction of the Weldon Pavilion.

“My intent, from the start, has been to create a way to use the remnants of the Weldon store to serve a purpose for all of Chelsea,” Picklesimer said. “This is the best way to preserve this piece of Chelsea history. I realize that this is emotional for many, especially those who are lifelong residents.”

Windows, doors, shelves, siding and some tongue and groove hardwood from the old Weldon building will be utilized for the Weldon Pavilion.

Until construction begins on the Weldon Pavilion, all of the salvaged materials will be stored at the city’s maintenance building.

Picklesimer said the Weldon Pavilion will be completed with phase two of construction on the Chelsea Sports Complex, and will serve as an event venue for Chelsea residents.

“Even people who don’t use the athletic facility will be welcome and have the opportunity to use the Weldon Pavilion for family reunions, picnics and birthday parties. It will be available and accessible to all of Chelsea,” Picklesimer said. “This is not part of the athletic complex, it’s just being placed near the athletic complex.”

The city of Chelsea resolved to sign a contract with Clements Dean Building Company dismantle the Weldon building and build the pavilion at a city council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

“The building is in such a state of disrepair. It’s leaning, and our decision was to try to dismantle it and save it, instead of having it fall in on itself,” Picklesimer said.

Many family members of the Weldon building’s original owner currently live in Chelsea, and Picklesimer said he has received nothing put positive feedback from them.

“I haven’t had any negative feedback from the family members. They’ve all expressed their appreciation for the salvage and reconstruction efforts,” Picklesimer.

Chelsea resident Olean Kenny said she grew up around the store and it is an important part of Chelsea’s history.

“Back when I was a little girl in the 50’s, we used to come to the store. I’ve just always known the people who ran the building. For the people who have lived in Chelsea for many year and who were raised here, it’s just been a historic landmark,” Kenny said.

Kenny said she is glad that the city is doing everything they possibly can to acknowledge the historical importance of the Weldon building.

“I’m glad that they’re preserving some of it. All of us who have lived here for a long time are proud that they’re recognizing the significance of it in the city,” Kenny said.