By now you have surely heard of the destructive fire that raged through historic Washerst on New Year’s Eve and Day and destroyed the Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum (above the coin-op Laundromat on Dickinson Boulevard). It will likely be one of the top news stories of the year. We have heard from virtually everyone who is anyone, including Pope Francis, President Obama, Kathy Griffin, Jimmy Kimmel, Adele Dazeem, Samuel L. Jackson, and cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy. We even heard from Donald Trump, who tweeted “The Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum in Washerst got schlonged by that fire – thanks to the Pope” (referring to the fact that lint from the Pope’s laundry load of papal gowns contributed to the clogged dryer vents in the coin-op Laundromat below the museum).
Pictured above: A fireman surveys the ruins of the
coin-op Laundromat (formerly below the Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum on Dickinson Boulevard).
Of course, we are devastated by the fact that the Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum burned down and for the loss of countless priceless artifacts associated with Dickinson’s life and work. One of the most significant losses was that of the museum’s Great Hall of Wax Figures (sponsored by Yankee Candles) which included life-size wax figures of Dickinson and his family created by Gutson Borglum, who also sculpted Mount Rushmore.
In addition to the momentous loss of historic papers, articles and relics related to America’s greatest poet, the museum has also had to lay-off more than 500 employees at a time when all of the historic downtown area of Washerst has been destroyed by fire.
Or course, we still have our online site which we inaugurated three years ago, so we have a digital archive of our most recent (and some of our most popular) exhibits. When it comes to the “bricks and mortar,” we do plan to rebuild, but how will we respond to this disaster in the short term?
* We will continue to post “Featured Poems of the Week” each Sunday, and we will publish occasional posts on our plog (like a blog, but a plog).
* We will also continue to post other features (“In the News,” “Blackout Poems,” etc.) as they become available.
* Finally, we will share information and updates about the ELD Museum and the Dickinson Organization of Poetry Enthusiasts (DOPE) via Twitter (@the_Dickinson).
We would like to thank the Washerst Volunteer Fire Department for their valiant effort to save the Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum (which was once above the coin-op Laundromat on Dickinson Boulevard). They fought fearlessly through the night, and although they lost the battle, they certainly gave it their all!