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Ex-officer pens kids’ book about demolition

It’s about knocking things over.

The retired Marblehead cop and Swampscott resident said the idea for the book, “Building Wrecking for Kids: With Steve and the Razing Gang,” came from a hobby of photographing old North Shore buildings that were being torn down.

“I always had a passion for old architecture and construction when I was a kid,” Dodge said. “When they started taking down Danvers State Hospital, I thought it’d be a neat photograph.”

Dodge continued to take photos of other landmarks in the area, like an old mill in Lowell and the old Moose Lodge on Highland Avenue in Salem, now a gas station. He created a website, www.wreckedphotography.com, to document the demolition of old buildings, if only for himself.

“Historically, the landscape on the North Shore has changed,” said Dodge. “Walking through an old mill over 100 years old, it’s like stepping back in time. For me it’s kind of neat to walk through the old buildings and have all that history behind it.”

While photographing the demolition at the General Electric gear plant in Lynn last year, Dodge met Steve Guerette from RSG Contracting Corporation, who had dreamed of owning his own demolition business since he was 16 and built his first crane in his backyard in Lynn.

“I thought it might be a good theme for a book ... a book about if you want to be something you can be it. Just work hard,” he said.

“Building Wrecking for Kids: With Steve and the Razing Gang” follows Guerette and his RSG wrecking crew while they take down the gear plant. The 40-page book features Dodge’s photographs on every page, with descriptions of each part of the wrecking process and the tools used.

Speaking of process, Dodge discovered that the one involved in writing a book wasn’t too easy, either. The slim volume took a year to complete, “with a huge learning curve,” but he is already planning on writing other educational children’s books about other subjects.

Dodge said he felt there was a need for this book for kids who were interested in construction, like he was.

“There’s a couple of kids books, but only a few pages with a wrecking ball, really nothing on soup-to-nuts wrecking,” he said. “There’s just as much that goes into deconstruction as there is construction. You’d think it’s just ‘bang, bang, boom, and it’s done,’ but it’s not.”

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