Riverfront Stadium Implosion
December 29, 2002

The crowd gathering at 7:00am.

Relatively few people watched the implosion from the western riverfront.  From where I was on Elm St. adjacent to the Paul Brown Stadium plaza, there were no more than 5,000 people and probably fewer than that.  The group I was with hurried down to the riverfront at 6:30, presuming the crowd to have already claimed the best spots.  But even up until the moment of the implosion, there were still open spots along the Elm St. railing.

Those who were in place at 7:00am were treated to a spectacular sunrise (pictured above), centered perfectly above the Suspension Bridge from our angle.  Packs of young kids ran around and chants rose out of the crowd at times, but the early hour and 30F cold kept things from getting rowdy.

About 10 minutes before the implosion --  the sun is behind the Suspension Bridge's tower.

After so much anticipation, the implosion came about quite suddenly.  There was no visible or audible official time clock, until the Paul Brown Stadium P.A. clicked on with the countdown, starting at 8 seconds.  Having never witnessed an implosion, I and probably most others anticipated a deep mortar shell sound to the charges, but it was instead a high pitched gun shot type of sound.  The charges could be heard in perfect rhythm coming counter-clockwise from the east side of the stadium, and as they passed along the visible west side of the stadium, brief flashes could be seen.  Nothing started falling until a second wave of charges about 15 seconds later, at which point the stadium fell in on itself in a counter-clockwise wave.  Again, the sound was different than I anticipated.  I braced for an earth-shaking rumble, but there wasn't any ground vibration, and there was none of the chest-thumping from a large fireworks display.  The sound of such a large structure collapsing wasn't very loud, nor was it particularly distinct.  There was no shockwave of wind or dust.

The following sequence of photos was taken from Elm St., about 100ft. south of Ted Berry Way.  The photos were taken at two second intervals, starting at about the 20th second:



A wide-angle view from the same camera position, about one minute after the implosion.

After the implosion, a large dust cloud rose from the site and drifted lazily north towards the downtown business district.  Within 10 minutes, it enveloped the entire front of the business district, up to the 20th floor of office buildings.  It hung around for another 10 minutes, casting an apocalyptic haze over the deserted city streets, and Ft. Washington Way, which had been closed as well.

Click Here  for aerial photos taken after the implosion
Click Here  for March 2003 photos of the implosion site and new Great American Ballpark
Click Here for miscellaneous photos of the stadium 1999-2002

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