March 19, 2010

The Building at NorthLake Nature Center Burns

You might recall that back in January I posted a piece about how Beau, Larry, Ken and Al were rebuilding the old abandoned building at the NorthLake Nature Center and how proud of them I was.   Well, I'm now heartsick to report that early Sunday morning, the building burned.    And, just like that, the countless hours of  volunteer work, plans, and visions went up in smoke.

September 2004 -   There was a vision to rebuild the old abondoned building using as much of the remaining materials as possible.   Larry, was joined by two volunteers, Ken & Beau, and the work started. 


Inside of building, looking out
 Outside of building, looking in.  Initial steps were site clean-up and adding brick columns to support the structure, where needed.
March, 2005:  Doors and window shutters are built to secure the building.  Areas of brick walls are rebuilt with original bricks, salvaged from the grounds.   
 September 2005:  HURRICANE KATRINA landed several large trees on the building.   Work stopped for for several months as the three men worked hard to re-open the paths and other areas of the Northlake Nature Center to the community. 
April, 2006:  Roofing Structure going in to secure the building in sections (it's quite a large building)
May 2006:  Then they removed the doors and windows, for a short period of time for the shooting of a horror movie.  (The movie crew brought all the debris ... unfortunately, they didn't do too good a job removing it, so the men got to clean the building .... again)
April, 2007:   Section by section, layer by layer, the building continues.   Remember, this is three men, 5 - 7 hours at a time, two times a week ... rain or shine, hot or cold.
March, 2008:  1st section of exterior roof complete and interior framework and roofing well underway in the big room.
April, 2008:  I-Beams (weighing over 2000 lbs ea) carefully put in place (with just 3 men) to support the attic and roof.
October, 2008:  And, not to forget, slate cobblestone porch (from original slate roofing found in the woods) and a shade overhang.
July, 2009:  An attic is created, and dormers, along with a variety of interior works.   Al joins the volunteers, now making them a workforce of 4.
January, 2010:  The 2nd section (the big room) is almost secured
March 14, 2010:   The building burns.   An investigation is under way as to the cause.  At this point, arson is presumed.
Once again, the building is ruins.

To say the least, we are very sad.   These men were doing a great thing that, one future day, would have been a great addition to the Nature Center, as well as the community as whole.  

Their work on the building continues ... but at this point, only in the aspect of cleaning it up and securing it so it will not be a danger to those people who visit the Nature Center grounds.


1 comment:

paula said...

for the life of me i dont know why your blog feed doesn't update me when you write posts....i just now thought wow i've not heard anything on your end so i came here to see if you were still blogging. wonder why google isn't showing your blog feeds.
ick! that is so unfortunate this all burnt. sorry to hear, glad no one was hurt but it still sucks!!!!