For more than a year now, I have been hearing that the demolition of Behnke’s was coming soon. But “soon” for government permitting means something different than “soon” for you and me.
A good friend of Behnke’s, Vince McDonald, stopped by the property last week and let me know that DEMO had started. I asked him to send me some pictures, which he did.
I ask myself, how can it still hurt so much to see this happening? For months now, I have hoped and prayed they would start sooner rather than later as the place looked horrible. But driving by made me, and many of you cringe.
At one point last summer I had a nightmare that, like the castle in Sleeping Beauty, the weeds (instead of thorns) had grown up and over our beautiful houseplant house and the rest of the nursery. There was Alfred Millard, former president of Behnke’s with a weed wacker telling me to stand back, and he had it! He was chopping down weeds, but they kept growing back. Thankfully I woke up, but I never got that impression out of my head.
Now the old glasshouse is down, gone! This was the greenhouse over by our little brick house on Wicomico Avenue, the street that bisected the nursery property. Never opened for retail, it was where many of our plants were grown.
From what I understand, the buildings are next, and they could already be down for all I know. Hopefully, Vince will send me more photos. But, I have decided not to watch. My heart aches even writing these words. Seeing the images Vince sent me, and I don’t even have the words to explain how they made me feel. I am not sure why. We all knew this day was coming and it needed to be done.
I think seeing this final chapter is so hard because it needed to be done. Almost as hard as when we actually announced the closing of the garden center. I know it has been an emotional journey for many others, including those of us that lived in that little brick house. So many memories that we will always hold dear. Maybe that is why I keep writing each week.
The property has new plans for its future. A brand new 7/11 will be built on the corner of US 1 and Howard Avenue to replace the 7/11 next door on Garrett. The plans I have seen indicate that it will be nicer and more accessible for folks to get in and out. How much nicer that will be to see with landscaping around it than the eyesore there now.