In Marcellus, crumbling Crown Mills tumbles down

For 30 years, the dilapidated Lower Crown Mills building towered over the village of Marcellus.

Monday morning the Marcellus Village Board passed a resolution to demolish the west and north wings of the brick building, condemned by Codes Officer Bill Reagan in September. By Wednesday afternoon, the building had been dropped into its footprint by local contractor Pat Scanlon.

"Much of Marcellus history was destroyed today, making the demolition somewhat bittersweet," Marcellus Mayor John Curtin said last Wednesday afternoon.

Before closing down in 1961, the Lower Crown Mills, built in 1878, employed a good portion of the town's residents. One of those employees was Charles Curtin, the mayor's grandfather, who worked as a "boss weaver" for the woolen mill. Curtin said many Irish and Scottish immigrants worked at the mill.

On Thursday morning, Scanlon dismantled the brick smokestack using a crane. The stack, which loomed over North Street, was deemed a hazard in September by Reagan, who at the time said unless the property's owner agreed to install lightning protection, it would have to come down.

The village board was able to take swift action on the demolition only after declaring it a public emergency. At a public hearing the morning of Monday 9, Curtin said the conditions at the mill presented a "clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property, unless the north and west wings of the building, along with the smokestack, are demolished and removed as soon as possible." The mill's proximity to North Street, Nine Mile Creek, where fishermen frequent, and the school gave the village additional reason for concern. According to Reagan, the mill was broken into last week.

In September, the village issued an order of demolition to the property owner, William Lucchetti, who agreed to take up the task. Since then Lucchetti, who lives in the village of Marcellus, had partially dismantled the top two floors of the north wing, leaving the structure in perilous condition, Curtin said.

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