Monday, April 26, 2010

Editorial: History is worth effort to save it

The unnamed editor is quite right that "We need the individual efforts of those who preserve our heritage," but this conclusion misfires, showing that he is among the many in our community who take our history for granted and think that "someone - usually someone else - will protect and preserve it."

Ms Ruffner is a truly dedicated and accomplished advocate for history and the arts, but she will be the first to tell you that individual effort is only effective in the context of large, dedicated groups. That means if you care, you don't wait to give Ms Ruffner a gold star, you pitch in and help row the boat. Perhaps the editor could better inform the public about how the Courier is spending sweat and money to help preserve our heritage. It's called leading by example.

In the comments, "Gracie xx" says "The (buildings) of a hundred years ago will probably still be standing and beautiful, but nothing being constructed these days will be standing beside them. Well, maybe to illustrate a lack of class," and it struck me that she's righter than she may realize. The historic structures we cherish in our town all rose before the advent of the middle class, when the skilled workers who built them typically put in 80- and 90-hour weeks under harsh and dangerous conditions for subsistence wages. Yes, Gracie, that class system is mostly gone, but as a result very few can afford the kind of construction that will endure for hundreds of years in grace and dignity, certainly not in a commercial building.

We pay that cost for our more comfortable lifestyle and better working conditions. It's a trade no civilized society regrets, but we have to be aware that only if have the vision to maintain the great legacy of the artisans of years past can we continue to live in a community with this kind of architectural depth and character.

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