The walls of the beloved Red Rooster Restaurant were brought to the ground Tuesday, ending an era in Tracy
By Per Peterson
No one in Tracy can claim they have devoted as much of their lives to the Red Rooster as Don and Carolyn Engelkes have, and the demolition of the iconic building Tuesday didn’t just conclude a chapter in the City of Tracy’s history book, it also signaled the end of a personal era for Carolyn.
“It makes me want to cry,” said Carolyn, who together with Don ran the Rooster for 30 years — easily long enough for it to become a lifestyle for the couple. “It took me a long time before I could drive past the building and not … turn in. But we hope for a new beginning and a prosperous future for that spot.”
The building that for decades was home to truckers, coffee and pie lovers and families taking in a homemade meal after church was erased from Tracy’s landscape in a matter of hours early Tuesday morning, marking an end to one era and the beginning of another.
Demolition by Noomen Excavating of Currie began on the west side of the Rooster. Lyle Noomen was on-site about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, and went through the Rooster one last time before sunrise.
“Just making sure everything was clear, nothing hazardous was in there, making sure no one was in there,” Noomen said. “I also go through and look to make sure we know where the sewer is at, or water lines, so we won’t have to dig them up afterwards.”
Noomen said another reason he did a walk-through was to check the building’s structure.
“The Rooster is pretty open on the (west) side, so if we start there, it’s going to be a big open space, while on the other side, it’s more structurally sound,” he said. “There are different ways of going about it.”
Rooster neighbor Jeff Salmon, a member of the Tracy Development Corporation, proclaimed “No more coffee and pie” as the walls of the Rooster came tumbling down. It was November 1991 when Salmon Automotive added the Ford and Chrysler franchises. Salmon hates to see the Rooster go, but knows the city can’t live in the past.
For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.