Nancy Charlesworth-Hagen's family owned much of the land that the hospital now sits on including the Pontiac building, she said, "Bittersweet, that's what it is. It's because that's my lifetime of memories, for 50 years now."
Tuesday afternoon crews began the demolition, knocking much of the structure down in about 30 minutes.
Donna Charlesworth added, "The property itself has been in the family since sometime in the late 1920's."
The family says in the late 1940's the Pontiac building was built as a car dealership, later it turned to selling coffee, but recently its neighbor, the Northwest Arkansas Medical Center, needed more room, and so to help the city it loves, this family sacrifice.
Charlesworth-Hagen owns the current Pontiac coffeehouse, she said, "They (the hospital) had said they were either going to need the rest of it (Pontiac building) or probably shut it down and build a new one, probably in Johnson, where the other hospital is, and we didn't want that for Springdale."
Northwest Medical Center CEO, Dan McKay, added, "It's been hard for us too, but it's exciting because of where we're going as a hospital and a community."
Nancy's mom, Donna said, "Well it's sad to see those older things go, but the older we get the more we have to accept all those things that are going to happen, and, again, I'm glad to keep the hospital here."
The construction crews gave the family a brick after the walls had fallen, Charlesworth-Hagen said, "The first brick had to be laid, and now the last brick was handed to me."
Northwest Medical Center bought the old coffee house last year. The demolition will allow the hospital to expand its emergency room. The ER expansion project will add 10 additional ER beds for a total of 26, increase the hospital by 30,000 square feet and allow for the reorientation of the front of NMC-Springdale to face Thompson including additional parking with green space enhancements.
Charlesworth-Hagen says the Pontiac coffeehouse will continue to be open for business, and an expansion might be possible in the future.
Original street lights surrounding the coffeehouse and granite from the front of the coffeehouse will be donated to the Springdale Historical Museum.