Part of historic former cotton mill in Marysville to be demolished

·3 min read
Part of historic former cotton mill in Marysville to be demolished

A piece of Marysville history will disappear when part of the old cotton mill is demolished in the coming weeks.

The old mill, which is currently a government building known as Marysville Place, is the heart of the neighbourhood's rich heritage.

Built in the mid-1880s by Alexander 'Boss' Gibson, the large brick building overlooks the Nashwaak River in the Fredericton suburb .

A two-story annex attached to the rear of the building, formerly the dyehouse when the mill was operational, is currently fenced off.

A demolition crew is already on site and they're ready to take it down the week of Dec. 7.

That part of the building hasn't been used in recent years because it's no longer structurally safe.

Terry Arnold, co-chair of the Marysville Heritage Committee, said it's always sad to see part of the old mill go.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

"It's hard to see it happen, but I can understand why it's happening — if it's unsafe and there's no resources available for fixing it up," Arnold said.

He said he believes the annex hasn't been used since the late 1970s, when the mill shut down and the building was acquired by the provincial government.

Arnold, who has lived in Marysville his whole life, said he never worked at the mill but remembers being inside it once as a teenager, and remembers its distinct smell.

Years later, when Arnold and other members of the Marysville heritage committee, were given a tour of the Annex, Arnold said the building's unique aroma was still there.

"It smelled exactly the same as it did to me back in the early 1960s," he recalled.

"It still had that — I call it cotton mill smell," adding that it wasn't a bad smell — just distinct.

The provincial government has renovated the main building over the years and currently uses it for offices.

Jill Green, New Brunswick's minister of transportation and infrastructure, said the former dyehouse is in rough shape.

"The roof has collapsed, the beams inside are deteriorated to the point where the structure is not safe, so it's time to bring it down so that nobody gets hurt," Green said.

Green said she worked at Marysville Place in the late 1980s and remembers the annex was sometimes used for storage.

Green said there it still contains old drums that were used to store dye, and added that they will be removed and properly disposed of as part of the project.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

A small section that connects the mill with the annex will not be torn down, and crews are working to block that section off now.

Green said that some of the bricks and the beams in the annex will be reused to build a bicycle storage for people who work at Marysville place.

The contractor doing the demolition is also planning to reuse some of the materials in other projects around the province.

And while there is no commitment on how the land will be used, the province is considering extending the community garden that's already on site.

CNF Maillet is the company doing the demolition.

The project will cost the government $426,000 — that includes the demolition and the work to support the remaining wall.

The debris will be cleaned up by the end of the year.