Rising from the Ashes

Rising from the Ashes

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Spring is a powerful time of renewal as the frangible chaff and bracken of last season gives way to new growth. With that spirit in mind, this week we bid farewell to the much-used (and much-loved) recycling shed in a final springtime blaze of glory. 

Our Maine Coast Semester students turned out in force to bid the old recycling shed farewell.

The recycling shed, suffering from structural rot in the foundation, was judged beyond useful repair by Facilities Manager Carob Arnold and slated for removal. A crew from the Wiscasset Fire Department, led by Fire Chief TJ Merry, was invited to use the old structure for a controlled demolition burn – a valuable training exercise for firefighters. 

After a team of Maine Coast Semester students and Chewonki staff carefully removed the exterior shingles and windows, the building was primed for firing. 

The building caught fire quickly and the blaze threw a dramatic curtain of fire and smoke into setting sun. The fire team took turns approaching the building and applying fire suppression techniques, until the central timbers gave up the ghost and the sidewalls collapsed into a smoldering pile. 

According to Arnold, this demolition is part of the spring construction plan to re-locate the canoe racks and prepare the area around Packout for additional renovations. 

Like every building at Chewonki, our trusty little shed was full of history and encounters. As we said goodbye, there was some comfort in seeing those memories drift up in the gathering twilight, dusting this place in a feather-ash cloud of memories.