Downtown Bakery Crumbles

The debate over saving an old bakery in Ocean Springs ended abruptly early Friday morning.

That's when heavy equipment tore down the building in less than ten minutes. The demolition is part of the planned expansion of First Baptist Church.

Although the bakery is gone, the concern about historic preservation continues.

Heavy equipment scooped up the remains of the downtown bakery late Friday morning. The small building was quick work for the demolition man.

Ray Bellande took pictures, shaking his head in disgust and disbelief. The local history buff helped lead the effort to save the structure.

"We know there was massive support for this building to stay. The Baptists prevail. The town loses. Typical, I don't know. If this is progress, we're going to hell in a hand basket. I don't know," said Bellande.

The bakery that inspired sentimental feelings for some, was another day's work for Gussie Lamey. He says there simply wasn't much left to save.

"We're just doing our job. It only took about five or ten minutes to tear down. Termites had done got in it. It was all rotten up. It was too far gone to try to save," Lamey said.

With the bakery now demolished, the preservation debate will likely move around the corner and focus on the old church building which is also slated to come down. Some would like to save the structure, but church officials say it's eaten up with termites and would likely fall to pieces if anyone tried to move it.

There's no immediate plan to tear down the 1909 church. First Baptist spokesman Randall Turner told WLOX News the building is still used for Sunday school space and isn't a part of initial expansion plans.

But the bakery property is included in phase one.

"It's just another sad day for Ocean Springs and hopefully we won't have to face this situation too many times in the future," said Ray Bellande.

The bakery was torn down shortly after seven Friday morning. Protesters had planned another demonstration outside the building Saturday morning.