Chris Bolling stood in the crowd outside Red’s Dairy Freeze in South Portland early Monday and watched the demolition of his popular ice cream stand.

“It was tough,” he said. “It’s a lot of memories, but it’s a new beginning and we will have a new building.”

Red’s, a beloved landmark at the foot of Meetinghouse Hill, has been shut down since May 16, when an electrical fire caused extensive damage to the back of the building and destroyed its freezers and ice cream machines.

It took five minutes to level the building Monday and two hours to clean up the debris.

Bolling said he planned to submit his application to build a new ice cream stand to city officials Monday.

He said the new stand will look like the old one.

 

Bolling’s father, Leonard “Red” Bolling, started the business in 1952.

Local residents and Red’s employees turned out to see Monday’s demolition.

“It is a sad day today, but it will be a new start for us,” said Jessica Conley, who has worked at Red’s for four years. “It will be so nice when its rebuilt again. All the employees are really excited.”