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TELL CITY - A large section of wall at the former William Tell Hotel in Tell City collapsed Friday morning, sending a mountain of century-old bricks into the street and worsening fears that more of the building could be about to fall.
Bricks began falling after 6 a.m. and within an hour all three stories of the wall had collapsed onto the sidewalk and street. Cracks were visible in other sections of the wall.
The building is owned by Carolyn Barr, who purchased it from Lincoln Hills Development Corp. and was developing plans to preserve the structure.
Barr and city leaders noticed a bulge in the brick wall earlier in the week and city officials were worried enough to take measurements of cracks around windowsills, Mayor Barbara Ewing said at the site Friday.
The city street department has barricaded areas around the building but Main Street remained open Friday. Through traffic on Washington Street has been detoured for the past two weeks as part of Tell City’s waste-water improvement project. Crews are boring under 12th Street, which has closed blocks on either side of the intersection of 12th and Washington streets.
The William Tell Hotel opened in the 1920s and joined what had been separate hotels, the Washington House at the corner of Main and Washington streets and the Commercial Hotel to its south on Main. The wall that collapsed Friday was part of the old Washington House.