Seven months after a fire struck Hubbard Hall, the venerable building is being razed.
It was one of Elizabethtown’s oldest and best-known structures, having served at one time as a hospital and later as a college, but was severely damaged in a fire last January that displaced a number of local businesses.
To date, the cause of the fire has not been determined.
Representing the town, Elizabethtown Town Supervisor Noel Merrihew III said, “It is a great loss of a part of history that many people have identified with during their lives, especially the older people. Hopefully, something will be done to fill the void, such as an office building.”
He has first-hand knowledge of the building, as he was born there and has had “a personal affiliation with too many stitches to count at the former hospital. It’s also where I received my associate’s degree in liberal arts.”
The Hubbard Hall property is owned by Jeffrey Langford, who had it listed by Adirondack Country Homes Realty of Elizabethtown at the time of the fire for $329,000.
On Monday, Langford declined to comment on what had transpired or his plans for the property.
“On behalf of the town, we appreciate what the owner has done during this difficult process and following through on his word to us,” Merrihew said.
Among the major causes for the delays in demolition were the possibility of asbestos in the structure and the bonding associated with demolition projects. There was also a wait for insurance payments.
Before demolition could begin, Champagne Demolition of Albany had to construct a decontamination chamber for the workers to shower. The crew also have to wear hazmat suits and respirators.
KAS Environmental, Geological and Industrial Consulting Inc. of Vermont and Plattsburgh must evaluate the site before, during and then after the demolition process for contaminants such as asbestos.
During the razing process, water has to be continuously sprayed as parts of the structure are exposed.
It is expected that the structure will be leveled by Wednesday and then the carting of the debris will begin.
Hubbard Hall, constructed in 1839, was initially the mansion of lawyer and Congressman Orlando Kellogg.
Kellogg, a strong supporter of Abraham Lincoln, served in the U.S. Congress as a Whig from 1847 to 1849 and again as a Republican from 1863 until his death in 1865.
In the 1890s, the Queen Anne-style dwelling was remodeled. It had several gables and numerous rooms that were reconfigured through the years as usage changed.
The dwelling’s name was changed to Hubbard Hall after Mr. and Mrs. W. Hustace Hubbard transferred ownership of the structure to the Elizabethtown Community House, which converted it into a hospital in 1926.
A two-story wing was added in 1946. It continued to serve as a medical facility until the present Elizabethtown Community Hospital was constructed in 1966.
Hubbard Hall served as the Elizabethtown campus for North Country Community College during the 1980s.
It was converted to office space from 1991 to 1994, and the county transferred ownership to the Town of Elizabethtown. At that time, the building was listed as condemned, and concerns about its survival were on the minds of Elizabethtown citizens.
The town sold it to Darren and Lisa Tracy in 1996. The Tracys extensively remodeled the facility in order to bring it up to code and convert it to office space and stores. They were honored with an Adirondack Architectural Heritage Award in 1998 for their restoration efforts.
Among the businesses that rented space there at the time of the fire were Adirondack KK Ranch Country Store, an optometrist, a psychologist, an abstract company and St. Joseph’s Rehab Center.
Hubbard Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
E-mail Alvin Reiner at: email@example.com