MELITOTA — A landmark was reduced to rubble Saturday afternoon, Oct. 26 when the proverbial wrecking ball brought down the former general store at 23770 Handy Point Road. Trey Jones of T&C Excavation was at the controls of the monstrous piece of machinery that tore through what had once been Reed’s Store and before that Barry’s Store at the crossroad of Melitota.

The rubble was burned by local firefighters Sunday morning in a “controlled burn” that also served as a training exercise.

Members of the Reed and Barry families took a final walk-through before the building was demolished at about 3:30 p.m. The building had been shuttered since about 2000, according to Tina Reed Landon. Tina and husband Bill, of Chestertown, acquired the store and the four acres it sits on from her mother in April.

Bill Landon said once the site has been cleared, he likely would relocate his business, Landon Marine, there. Another possible use for the property could be a small convenience store, he said. After all, a store has been there for as long as anyone can remember.

William C. “Claudie” Reed Jr. and Edith D. “Suzie” Reed purchased the store and the land from Eric and Edith Barry in 1983.

Two generations of the Barrys owned and operated the store for about 60 years before it was sold to the Reed family, according to Dawn Barry White, of Rock Hall.

Dawn White and Tina Landon recorded the demolition by video and still photographs. “Bittersweet,” Landon said when asked how she felt watching the old family homestead being torn down.

Passing motorists also stopped to take photographs. Among them was Kent County Clerk of the Circuit Court Mark Mumford, who was on his way home to Chestertown after performing a wedding in the area.

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