April 28, 2008

Awww crap - the Concrete Castle burns in a suspicious fire.

One of the more interesting structures in this part of the woods was in Concrete, WA. It started life as a large school building, was purchased by a developer who, over the course of 20 years, was converting it into his idea of a castle, complete with three turrets. It burned to the ground yesterday. From Go Skagit:
Fire destroys old schoolhouse building
Valerie Stafford watched as fire crews tried to douse the last remnants of the fire that gutted her old schoolhouse Sunday. Concrete’s fire chief called the blaze “suspicious.”

“I went to first grade there,” said Stafford, who is president of the Concrete Chamber of Commerce and public relations director for United General Hospital.

For many, the old three-story schoolhouse on Main Street represented memories of childhood. For others, it was an eyesore.

The building had stood empty for much of the past two decades except for occasional efforts by its most recent owner to recreate it as a medieval castle — a project that was all but abandoned several years ago.

One by one, as the fire grew in intensity through the afternoon, each of the three uncompleted castle “turrets” fell in flames to the ground.

Five fire departments, including Concrete, Burlington, Sedro-Woolley and two rural fire districts, responded to the blaze, which was reported about 1:45 p.m.
The Skagit River Journal has more plus some photos of the building as it was (scroll down about half way). A sad day -- this was a piece of Americana that will be missed... The history of Concrete is interesting -- an excerpt of one event from Wikipedia:
On October 30, 1938, Seattle's CBS affiliate radio stations KIRO and KVI broadcast Orson Welles' now famous War of the Worlds radio drama. While this was a broadcast heard around the country, some of the most terrified listeners were in Concrete. At the point of the drama where the Martian invaders were invading towns and the countryside with flashes of light and poison gases, a power failure suddenly plunged almost the entire town of 1,000 into darkness. Some listeners fainted while others grabbed their families to head up into the mountains. Other more enterprising locals headed for the surrounding hills to guard their moonshine stills. One man was said to have jumped up out of his chair and, in bare feet, ran the two miles from his home to the center of town. Some of the men grabbed their guns, and one particular businessman - a devout Catholic - got his wife into the family car, drove to the nearest service station and demanded gasoline. Without paying the attendant, he rushed off to Bellingham (some forty-miles away) in order to see his priest for a last-minute absolution of sins. He reportedly told the gas-station attendant that paying for the gas "[wouldn't] make any difference, everyone is going to die!".
There are also a bunch of reader-submitted photos at Go Skagit: Concrete Schoolhouse Fire Posted by DaveH at April 28, 2008 7:47 PM | TrackBack
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