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'A lot of memories. A lot of hamburgers': McDonalds building torn down

McDonalds owner Mike Kelley watches Thursday as an excavator from Tooz Construction tears down the site of the old restaurant on Museum Drive. A new McDonalds building was built right next to the old one, which is being tore down to create a parking lot, Kelley said.2 / 6
Kelley and Nor-Sun Superintendent Erv Hamann stand inside the old McDonalds for the last time before it is demolished. 3 / 6
Mike Kelley shows the inside of the new McDonalds building, set to open later this month.4 / 6
Crews from Tooz Construction begin removing pieces of the building from the site. 5 / 6
McDonalds owner Mike Kelley talks to bystanders Thursday as an excavator from Tooz Construction works on tearing down the site of the old restaurant on Museum Drive. A new McDonalds building was built right next to the old one, which is being tore down to create a parking lot, Kelley said.6 / 6

Mike Kelley couldn’t help but become emotional Thursday morning as he watched construction crews tear down the McDonalds restaurant he built four decades ago.

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“This is really something,” he said to other onlookers as Tooz Construction crews razed the front of the structure along Museum Drive in Dickinson.

Kelley, a Dickinson area rancher and businessman, has owned McDonalds since it was built in 1976. The fast-food chain restaurant quickly became a staple of the community.

Walking through the old McDonalds building one last time, Kelley summed up what the restaurant -- often the busiest eating place in Dickinson -- has meant to the community.

“A lot of memories. A lot of hamburgers,” he said with a smile.

Kelley got the first crack at the old building, taking the controls of the excavator used to demolish the structure’s roof to tear down the white letters that spelled out “McDonalds” on the front.

“It’s a little emotional,” he said. “It’s 40 years of life, going in a pile. But it’s exciting. We’ve got the new one sitting beside it. You can see it from here. It’s exciting to get that going. Thank God we’ve got that to look forward to.”

The area where the old McDonalds building sat will become a parking lot for the new restaurant, which Kelley said should have its drive-thru ready to open by Aug. 15 with the dining area opening shortly after that.

On Thursday, however, all Kelley and many long-time McDonalds employees could do was stand and watch as crews demolished the building.

“There’s been a lot of people go by here this morning and stop and watch this,” Kelley said. “I think it’s touched a lot of people’s lives. I really do.”

Video Credit: Kacey Tomchuk

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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