NORWAY — A decision on the future of the historic L.F. Pike & Son building will not be known until the building owner can get a better look at the damage to the structure.

The roof buckled under the weight of snow sometime late Thursday night or early Friday morning. Police cordoned off the area, which sits on Main Street, to ensure the safety of pedestrians should the roof cave in further.

“We’re going to have to do this the slow and easy way,” owner Lesley Dean said. They need to get under the peaked roof that collapsed and see what damage there is to the original flat roof and underpinnings, she said.

The 122-year-old men’s clothing store, also known as “The Blue Store,” closed its doors in 2011 after serving the clothing needs of boys and men in Western Maine and beyond since the late 1880s. The store is part of the Norway Downtown National Historic District and one of the few buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1894 that wiped out a large section of the downtown business district.

Dean said there had been some roof leaks over the years through the tin ceiling. A peaked roof was constructed above the flat original roof about 10 years ago to prevent further leaks. The family had been keeping an eye on the building all winter, and the peaked roof was doing its job of keeping the snow pack off until last week.

“Based on what you can see, some 1880s lumber gave way and the false roof (the peaked roof) was just a victim,” she said.

In recent years, family illness and accidents and a tight budget prevented some preventative maintenance from being done, said Dean. Her father, the late Arthur Gouin Jr., bought the store in 1980, but left the daily operation of the store to her years ago because of health concerns.

“We talked about getting under the flat roof to see what type of damage there was to the original 1880s rafters, but that never happened,” Dean said.

She said family and friends helped her move the remaining merchandise to the back of the store, remove the snow from the roof, take down the L.F. Pike sign and tarp the building this past weekend.

She said everyone was surprised at how strong the building appeared to be.

Dean said this was the first winter that she did not heat the building because of the expense. Insurance on the building was also removed at the time it was closed.

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