Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Academy is burning. The guys in the part of the building facing out over the town tell me it's been on fire for the better part of two hours, which is quite a feat given the intermittent downpours we've been getting all day, and the two fire stations within two and three blocks respectively of the Academy. But, considering that the last building in Bellefonte to burn to the ground was exactly a block from both stations, I suppose that isn't necessarily a factor, is it?

The Academy is an old, massive pile of neoclassical architecture on Spring Street that, in its better days, housed an orphan's school. The last few decades, it's been in use as subsidized public housing, and it shows. That part of town is about as close as Central Pennsylvania gets to true slums. The wiring in the building can't be good - a secondary building on the grounds of the Academy lost its third floor a few years ago to a previous fire.

I can't say I'd be sorry to see the old blight go away, but I hope that everybody got out in time. It'll certainly change the face of the town - the Academy squatted on top of its bluff overlooking Tallyrand, the Big Spring, and the southern approaches to the town along Route 150.

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