Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Norlands ravaged by inferno

On my way to get coffee this morning, I was shocked and saddened by the huge story on the front page of the Portland Press Herald in the vending box I passed. Going online to find out what had happened, the story unfolded, as well as a posting on Craig's List with a plea for help. I'll post both the story and the link for assistance to Norlands below.

WMTW posted a terse article about the fire, which has video footage included:
Washburn-Norlands Fire Deemed Accidental
POSTED: 10:41 pm EDT April 28, 2008
UPDATED: 3:29 pm EDT April 29, 2008

LIVERMORE, Maine -- Fire heavily damaged the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore Monday night. It broke out just after 9 p.m. in the barn and by the time firefighters arrived, there were flames shooting out of the building.

The fire also spread to the middle house connecting the barn to the original mansion. The president of Washburn-Norlands, Cathy Beauregard, said the good news is that the mansion itself was spared. But the barn was destroyed and some of the livestock died in the fire.

The Maine state fire marshal's office said a heater set up in the barn sparked the fire. It was put there to keep several newborn piglets warm. The fire marshal's office has ruled the fire an accident.

Firefighters from several towns helped fight the fire and shuttle water to the scene. Beauregard said about 100 neighbors also showed up to help out.

There were no reports of any injuries.
While no one was hurt, and the fire spared the historic mansion, headquarter of so many historical activities for the region, assistance is still needed. On, a plea was posted by a local who wants to get the word out about how people can help:
Last night (Monday, April 28), a devastating fire ripped through the barn of the Norlands Living History Center in Livermore. The barn—along with several animals—was lost. The extent of the damage to the mansion has not been fully determined at this time. More information about this sad event can be found on the Lewiston Sun Journal’s web site at For those who are not familiar with the Norlands, their web site is (NOTE: there is a link to send donations via the web on their front page as of late this morning).

For decades, the Norlands has offered the community an opportunity to travel back in time to explore Maine’s rich history. Thousands of school children have enjoyed field trips to the school & mansion (I went as a child back in 1980...and my daughter enjoyed a school outing there just last year). For thousands of local residents, their annual Heritage Days has been a tradition not to be missed.

As the embers are still cooling, the Norlands Board of Directors is already committing to rebuild—no matter how long or how hard the task will be.

I’m just a citizen (not associated with the Norlands) that was saddened by this event, and who recognizes the value of this organization. Those wishing to help are instructed in a Sun Journal article:

To donate grain, hay, money or other goods to Norlands, call the center’s main number and leave a message at (207)897-4366. Mail can be sent to: 290 Norlands Road, Livermore, ME 04253. Drinkwine can be reached by cell at (207)740-0777, or by e-mail at vlnorlands[at]

No pressure. Just letting folks know in case they want to help.
There you have it. On a positive note, they are also determined to rebuild again.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Terrible. I went to school nearby (UMF) and some of my classmates studied at Norlands.

Maybe Stephen King can donate some money toward rebuilding.