Scouts, others help uncover historic lime kiln
Crews work Saturday to help Andy Hilins on his Eagle Scout endeavor
, Living Sussex Sun
Some would think that the quest of Sussex Boy Scout Andy Hilins to earn his Eagle Scout badge is going too fast. Only several weeks ago, Hilins was the center of a Sussex Sun feature about how he had chosen to clean out a corner lot adjacent to Quad Tech so the public could again see the history of the Sussex-Lisbon community. In the process he was able to show the public something of the once-thriving industrial business that dominated Sussex-Lisbon, the lime kiln business. There once were nine of these kilns between 1840 and 1916, but all are gone except the remaining 36-foot tall one Hilins is working to restore.
However, in talking to the Hamilton High School sophomore, the project is not going too fast.
"I was in first grade when my interest made me think of doing this in the future," Hilins said.
He joined Sussex Boy Scout Troop 95, earned a lot of merit badges and awards over the years and is now within in striking distance to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
On Saturday, Hilins was almost playing the part of Indiana Jones as he led more than 25 Scouts, leaders and other volunteers as they attacked the "jungle" that enshrouded the kiln property to free the 1888-built kiln from box elders, mulberry trees, wild mustard, burdocks and wild fox flowers so that a trail and sight lines could be obtained so in the future the public could see the 122-year-old kiln. The kiln sits at the apex corner of the undercrossing of the old North Western Railroad and Wisconsin Central Railroad.
Hilins had spent time prior to Saturday researching the kiln structure and gaining approval from Quad Tech to enter the site. He did admit that Saturday's work was going along faster than anticipated, but that everything is being done according to plan.
There was a bonus to being out on Saturday as Scout leaders and parents fed the crew of 25 that came out to work on the kiln and another bonus was finding relics at the site including a shrouded former "dynamite shed" partially buried next to the 1910 railroad bed. In the 1930s it had been used as a refuge by railroad "bums" for shelter during their Depression-era travels.
Another find was a series of iron objects including a railroad spike and an old camera found by Scout Ben Sciortino.
One Scout mother was still amazed with the uncovering of the kiln. "I didn't know anything was in there. You couldn't see it (the tower) before they started," despite being 36-feet high, she said.