L.F. Pike building set to be razed Dec. 29

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NORWAY — Lesley Gouin Dean, owner of the damaged L.F. Pike & Son store on Main Street, told selectmen Thursday night she expects it will be razed by Dec. 29.

The news prompted selectmen to agree to wait until Jan. 15 to take action to demolish it, if necessary.

About a dozen people showed up at Thursday’s public hearing to determine whether the former men’s clothing store should be declared dangerous and dilapidated under town ordinance.

The hearing was scheduled to force quick removal of the 1885 building, which the board fears is a public hazard. In March, the 10-year-old metal-pitched roof collapsed under the weight of snow. The collapse uncovered years of rot, mold and other structural deficiencies.

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“I wanted to sit down at the Thanksgiving Day table and say thank God it’s flat,” Dean said.

She, family members and friends wanted to dismantle the building, document its history and save architectural elements and artifacts.

“It seems like it is one step forward and two steps backward sometimes,” she said. “It’s a work in progress.”

Dean said they need more time to disassemble the store, which has no heat or electricity.

She declined the town’s offer last month to take a bulldozer to it. On Nov. 6, the board unanimously approved issuing a demolition permit.

If the board had declared the building dilapidated and dangerous, it could have had the building demolished.

“I’m awfully sorry you got put in this situation,” Holt told Dean. “I have a heavy heart about this but I have a job to do.”

Dean agreed to put mesh wiring across the large plate-glass windows in the front in case the building gives way before it’s taken down.

Construction barrels were placed in an alley beside the building because officials fear the chimney could collapse.

The building is part of the Norway Downtown National Historic District and one of the few to survive the Great Fire of 1894 that wiped out a large section of the business district.

The men’s clothing store opened in 1884 and closed in 2011. Dean’s father, Arthur N. Gouin Jr., owned and operated it from 1980 to 2003. She took over the operation after her father retired and closed it in 2011 for health reasons.

Dean and her husband, Gary, wanted to make repairs but were forced to give up the effort, she said. The couple hopes to rebuild a replica of the store next spring, using some of the original building features, she said.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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