Original ‘Electric City’ manuscript survived fire
Manuscript to be central object in future interpretive centre
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While examining the wrecked building that had housed artifacts, photographs and countless historical documents related to New France’s famed Electric City, Hal Theriault and Stacey Doucette found some metal objects and tools – and then, a manuscript detailing the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.
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.
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.