By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Work was underway this week to tear down the long-vacant Noojin Building in the 500 block of Chestnut Street.
For several years, the building has been vacant, and the last efforts of a developer to renovate the building fell through after he purchased it in 2010.
The City of Gadsden bought the building, with an eye toward removing the eyesore.
But the seven-story building – one of Gadsden’s tallest – wasn’t always an eyesore and a potential hazard to anyone who ventured inside.
The Noojin Building originally was known as the Philipson Building. In was reportedly built in the 1920s. While some web sites searched indicated the Noojin Building was first used as a hospital, “Images of America, Etowah County, Volume II” by Mike Goodson and Bob Scarboro, reports that the building was constructed in front of the old Gadsden General Hospital, and served as an office building.
Over the years, it housed offices for doctors and dentists, among other businesses.
There was a smaller building behind the Noojin Building, which was demolished some years ago, according to published reports. Removing that building left the back side of the Noojin open and an easy target for vandals and curious young people.
Several years ago, the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Gadsden, which is adjacent to the building, complained to the council about people spending time in the vacant building, and apparently throwing bricks from the Noojin onto the church roof, causing damage. Graffiti – plentiful inside the vacant building – was also started to spread onto church property.
City officials took efforts to make it harder for people to enter the building while deciding it’s fate continued.
Earlier this year, the city arranged for the demolition of the building, and some of that work as begun. A portion of the back wall has been brought down, and the work continues.