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.