A fishing-industry building on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places is half-submerged in waters near a Canadian island, and conservationists fear it could disintegrate before legal tangles are resolved.
The Jan. 4 blizzard tore the brine shed from its mooring at McCurdy's Smokehouse off Lubec, Maine, and it was blown to nearby Campobello Island in New Brunswick, the Bangor Daily News reported.
The shed is among five buildings that comprise the last traditional smoked-herring facility in the U.S., and an organization called Lubec Landmarks has worked for almost 25 years to preserve it.
Lubec Landmarks President Rachel Rubeor said legal tangles, including salvage rights claims by some Canadian citizens, could doom the building.
"The bureaucratic nonsense is hampering us big time," said Rubeor, who said vandals with chain saws are threatening to dismantle the building.
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said the senator's staff has worked to facilitate communication among organizations across all levels of government on both sides of the border "to help save and possibly preserve this historic landmark."
The shed's remains, which include significant portions of its roof, flooring and fireplace plus some side walls, floated under the bridge between Lubec and the Canadian island.
"It is just a miracle that it didn't hit the bridge. It just sailed right through the pilings," said Lubec Town Administrator Renee Gray.
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