Cole Cottage Fire at Nashotah House

3 Apr

From the wonderful news of a new baby to the bad news of a lost building.















At about 12:30 this morning Matthew and I were getting ready for bed and I happened to see something orange through the window out of the corner of my eye.  I yelled for Matthew to call 911 – Cole Cottage was on fire!  As we searched for the phone (because we, of course, cannot put it where it belongs) our neighbor knocked on our door and told us what we already knew – the building accross the way was on fire.  Luckily, they had already spotted the fire and called 911 and the trucks had already arrived.

Many in the community stood together and watched this beautiful building burn.  Thankfully, the building is vacant.  In the past it had been used as a faculty house but is currently uninhabitated due to disrepair.   Cole Cottage was a beautiful house with some of the most beautiful fireplaces I have ever seen.  I wish I had a picture of it to post as it truly was a gorgeous building.


This is the picture from our bedroom window.  This window is in the back of the building – you can see how close Shelton Hall is to Cole Cottage.  While we all stood talking and watching this building burn, our daughter and our neighbor’s one-year old daughter were sleeping in their rooms, unsuspecting.  It wasn’t until this morning that I really thought about the implications of this.  Had the firemen not kept this fire contained to the building already engulfed, and had it reached the wooded area it is surrounded area, it truly could have caught our building on fire.  I am eternally grateful and thankful for the quick response of the fire department and all of the surrounding departments bringing water. You see, we live in a small community within a small village.  We have no fire hydrants!

Matthew and I finally fell into bed at about 2:30 though I could not sleep because of the firetruck lights and the view of the fire still burning the cottage.  I could do nothing but praise God for this community and the fellowship we were able to have even over something as sad as this.  As we watched, a car pulled up and out popped Miss Ashley to check on our family and see if we needed her to take Adeline to safer ground.  At 1:00 in the morning, her first inclination was to see to the safety of my family.  How humbling is that?

A piece of history went up in flames last night, but the Nashotah House community was what it always is – optimistic, loving, and even fun!  Through it all, we were able to joke and tease, reminisce, and think about what will eventually stand on the ground where Cole Cottage once stood.


11 Responses to “Cole Cottage Fire at Nashotah House”

  1. Sue April 3, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    what was the other building destroyed 4 years ago?

    • Matthew April 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

      I thought it was three, but it has been pretty recent. Last summer another house caught fire when lightning struck! Our insurance people have got to be heading for the hills. HA

  2. Papa Z April 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    What a tragedy. I’m so grateful to Our Lord that no one was hurt.

    My prayers are with the Nashotah House family.


    David Zampino

  3. Jennifer April 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    Sue: It was a farmhouse just accross the street from the water tower.

  4. Fr John Berry April 4, 2009 at 6:07 am #

    The most difficult wednesday work crew assignment for some of us at Nashotah was removing the radiators out of each room of that cottage. The second story ones were a bear to move down the stairs. As each of us would succumb to exaustion we would sit on the floor and laugh at the idea of Nashotah “slave labor”. The event ended (as usual) with single malt and cheese in Dan Clarke’s+ parlor prior to Evensong.

  5. Tom Malionek April 4, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Jennifer, Matt, Adeline –

    We are so grateful you and everyone else nearby is safe. I never got to see Cole Cottage close up, or inside, and I am determined, next time I am on campus, to really have a good look around. We take so much for granted, and forget how precious, and precarious, our world is. Blessings, Tom

  6. Brian April 6, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    You really have some magnificent photos of that fire, i was on scene at this and it was an incredible fire. Im am very sorry we could not save this building for you. Is there any way you might be able to send me copies of these photos?

  7. Stephen Bolle April 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    I’m just catching up with this story and sharing your sadness. I’m trying to make out the location of Cole Cottage. Was it the faculty house just to the left of the main entrance to the grounds. The picture of the sloping land and the iron railing make me think it might be. That would have been across the main driveway from Shelton Hall. If so, I have great memories of that house from when Freeman and Katherine Whitman lived there and would let us use it for a week or two when they went away. It was a great house for young boys to explore and a great base for tree-climbing, bike riding, fishing, swimming and playing…and helping ring ‘Big Michael’ at 5pm, all about 60 years ago now but right in the front of my memory. Thank you for your posting.

  8. Matthew April 8, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    Stephen- it was the house across from Shelton. It was an amazing house to be in and I’m 28!

  9. Stephen Bolle April 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    Thank you so much, Matthew. Can you put up a picture of Cole Cottage before the fire? I can certainly see it in my mind’s eye, but it would be good to see it one more time.
    Thank you, and a Blessed Easter to you all.

    Stephen Bolle

  10. Jennifer April 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm #

    Unfortunately I never took a picture of Cole Cottage while it stood, though a friend of ours did. Here is a
    to a picture posted on her blog.


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