Friday night was a sad moment in the history of our small community. A one block area of historic buildings dating back to 1825 (which is the majority of the city's downtown buildings) went up in flames. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the buildings suffered total devastation. Over 25 different fire departments were on the scene battling the blaze.
The city's Bridge Street-Broad Street Historic District was listed in the National Registry of Historic Places in 1982. The one block strip was the gathering place and focal point of our town. As word spread about the fire, the entire town began to gather at the site. We are a small community and everyone knows everyone. For most of us, our neighbors are not just neighbors, they are also close friends and family. This fire has forever changed the face of our small community, and has left some unemployed and others without a home.
I'm not yet sure how this fire will affect other community activities that we have come to enjoy every summer. Like the music and movies in the park down by the Mill Pond (pictured below). Or, our annual Summer Happening that features foods, rides, family entertainment. All of these events will take on a new face in light of the recent fire. The damage is estimated at well over one million dollars and it will take several years before the community can rebuild.
Tragedies happen in life, but we often don't grasp the lasting impact until it hits on a personal level. Our community is stong and we will rally together to survive this misfortune. Admidst the existing ashes and rubble we will find hope.