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Charleston landmark Top-O-Rock demolished

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Marcus Constantino The iconic Charleston house and office Top-O-Rock is torn down Tuesday by a Rodney Loftis & Son demolition crew. Rodney Loftis Jr. said it could take more than a week to complete the project.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Marcus Constantino
The iconic Charleston house and office Top-O-Rock is torn down Tuesday by a Rodney Loftis & Son demolition crew. Rodney Loftis Jr. said it could take more than a week to complete the project.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gnarled steel was lying before the remaining thirds of the iconic Top-O-Rock residence Tuesday as a demolition crew was beginning its lunch break.

Its bones dismantled and cut for loading onto a truck, a few onlookers came to pay their respects to the iconic glass structure perched proudly above Charleston’s South Side landscape.

Bob Simms, an electrical engineer, helped late architect Henry Elden build the office and residence in 1968. Simms worked with Elden until 1978, when he announced that he would close his firm.

“Once he gave that speech, I left,” Simms said.

The house, which wound around rock and hugged the mountainside, had sheer glass walls that opened the space to light and its organic surroundings.

Simms said those who visited them often couldn’t focus on the tasks at hand.

“I’d have to call, ‘Come on now, pay attention,’ ” Simms said.

Hal Weber, who has owned neighboring homes for about 20 years, said the demolition brought a tear to his eye.

“It’s unfortunate, but progress comes with a capital ‘P.’ There it goes,” Weber said, as he watched an excavator pluck and adjust steel beams that once made up the front of the house.

Demolition of Top-O-Rock began Tuesday morning…

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