About a month ago, we were driving up Route 302 to Littleton, New Hampshire. As we were driving through Lisbon, New Hampshire, the main street was clogged with emergency vehicles–creating a surreal look with all the flashing lights.
As we drove by, the firefighters were putting out the remnants of a major fire that destroyed two apartment buildings. Fortunately, another very close by apartment building was saved thanks to the firefighters efforts.
The Caledonian Record reported (though we weren’t able to find the article on-line):
“A three-story apartment building was destroyed following a mid-day fire in downtown Lisbon on Thursday, Oct. 5.”
“None of the estimated seven residents, living in four apartment units at 54 South Main St., were injured in the fire, which broke out sometime before noon . . .”
“According to the Dodge’s [Bernie and Ava, the building’s owners], the building was over 100 years old, and has been in Bernie’s family for many years. He and Ava had owned it for the past 20 years, living in one of the units for approximately seven years.”
We are thankful that no one was hurt and certainly feel for the owners and residents whose lives have been turned upside down due to this tragedy.
Adding insult to injury, this fire will also negatively impact the town.
First, as shown in the Google map below, the buildings were located in the downtown area of Lisbon. The seven residents could easily walk downtown and shop at the local market or numerous other shops in the vicinity. For local businesses that struggle daily, this is a blow.
Second, the buildings were historic and added to the architectural heritage of the area. While we hope the owners will rebuild (to put people back downtown), it is extremely doubtful the new buildings will have anywhere near the charm these 100-year old buildings had.
Third, the status of the apartment building that was saved is unknown. There is now a dumpster in front of the building and it now appears to be empty. Will it also be torn down after a post-fire assessment? If so, more residents will be dislocated.
The broader ramifications to Northern New England in general is that we are slowly losing our architectural heritage one building at a time–whether to accidental fires, controlled fires, demolition by neglect, or just plain stupidity (see our post on the Lisbon Dollar General for example). They all take their toll.
We have lived in our current location now for eight years. During that time, we have witnessed the demise of over a dozen buildings–which averages more than 1 per year. And that’s just in an radius of about 20 miles or so. Just Imagine what’s going on in the rest of Northern New England?!
Shown below are the pictures of the buildings that we took as part of our town picture gallery. Unfortunately, as you can see, one of the pictures came out blurry and we always thought we had time to get another picture. Alas, that time has passed. We all should not be so complacent . . .