Historic Chouteau building collapses overnight

CHOUTEAU, Okla. - The 1908 building in Chouteau began as a bank, but has since been a hardware store, a quilt shop and a second-hand store. It's century long legacy brought out many onlookers on Thursday, people like Janice Phipps.

She lives three houses down from the building in Chouteau but didn't hear it collapse. She shared her story with Juanita Bynum, who also stopped by.

"I was awake but I didn't step out until the emergency vehicles was here," said Phipps.

"Oh good heavens! I didn't know about it til early this morning and I told my husband we better get down there and check it out," replied Bynum.

It collapsed, softly. It seems no one really heard it or knows why it collapsed. The bank next door to the building looked at its surveillance video but said it couldn't see anything in the darkness.

"It's withstood in recent years, heavy snow, heavy winds, heavy rains, but I don't know what happened," said Ben Sherrer, the building's owner.

Sherrer bought the building two years ago and planned to turn it into his law office.

As Sherrer looked over the building, Claud Morrow showed up.

He worked at the building when it was a hardware store.

"I was working in an oil field and I come up and took it over in '63," said Morrow.

But it really was home to him for seven years, "I lived in the back end here, the living quarters," said Morrow.

And as he looked at the damage he said, " I see what them people, when they go look at their house tore up by a tornado, what they see."

The front entrance of the building is still standing. Sherrer hopes that it can be salvaged.

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