Orig­i­nal ‘Elec­tric City’ man­u­script sur­vived fire

Man­u­script to be cen­tral ob­ject in fu­ture in­ter­pre­tive cen­tre

Tri-County Vanguard - - NEWS - SARA ERIC­S­SON DIG­BY­COURIER.CA

One of the only things to sur­vive a huge blaze in Wey­mouth in Au­gust was made of pa­per.

While ex­am­in­ing the wrecked build­ing that had housed ar­ti­facts, pho­to­graphs and count­less his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments re­lated to New France’s famed Elec­tric City, Hal The­ri­ault and Stacey Doucette found some metal ob­jects and tools – and then, a man­u­script de­tail­ing the his­toric town’s ori­gins and found­ing fam­ily.

The charred pages struck in­spi­ra­tion in both men who now, de­spite the in­cred­i­ble loss of his­tory, are “more de­ter­mined than ever” to tell the story of Elec­tric City – with the man­u­script front and cen­tre.

“When one con­sid­ers most metal didn’t sur­vive, and then these flimsy pages did – there’s no log­i­cal rea­son it should have, but here it is,” says The­ri­ault.

The­ri­ault and Doucette to­gether co-chair a com­mit­tee seek­ing to es­tab­lish an in­ter­pre­tive cen­tre where the story of Elec­tric City and its found­ing fam­ily, the Ste­he­lins, will be told. When a fire broke out at the pair’s head­quar­ters Aug. 29, ev­ery­thing changed apart from one thing – their re­solve to tell the story.

“We lit­er­ally lost ev­ery­thing. But the fire made us stronger. It never stopped us, just made us stronger,” says Doucette.

The two men re­cently re­turned from the Tourism In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of Nova Sco­tia con­fer­ence, where the prov­ince’s depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties, Cul­ture and Her­itage ex­pressed sup­port for their project.

Specif­i­cally, a di­vi­sion within the depart­ment has awarded a grant to the project for a new week-long theatre fes­ti­val to launch next fall in Wey­mouth. The build­ing slated for it was also de­stroyed dur­ing the fire, mean­ing buy­ing land and build­ing new might now be the an­swer, Doucette says.

For now, the men are fo­cus­ing on lo­cat­ing ar­ti­facts in the com­mu­nity, and say they’ve al­ready found two such sources and are wait­ing un­til they have a proper space to store them.

SARA ERIC­S­SON

Hal The­ri­ault and Stacey Doucette co-chair the Elec­tric City project’s com­mit­tee, and were just awarded a grant from the prov­ince to­ward the launch of a theatre fes­ti­val next fall in Wey­mouth – a great fit, since The­ri­ault has writ­ten three plays on New France.

SARA ERIC­S­SON

Hal The­ri­ault holds the charred re­mains of the ‘Elec­tric City: The Ste­he­lins of New France’ man­u­script – one of the few things that sur­vived the fire that to­talled the Elec­tric City her­itage project’s head­quar­ters and fu­ture in­ter­pre­tive cen­tre in Wey­mouth.

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