My initial inclination was to title this post “Loss.” We are all aswirl in so many states of loss – life as we knew it four months ago; work and means of income; and most importantly, loss of people near and dear. Our household has been incredibly fortunate. We have not lost anyone (that we know of). My sincere condolences to any of you have. We carry such heavy burdens these days and in the days that are ahead of us.
Another loss that I have been feeling long before COVID-19 put our lives into suspended animation is the loss of our community’s built heritage. I’ve written about the change in our architectural landscape in past posts (see June 2 & 15 posts). In the earlier epistle, I introduced what I call the Eddie Arcaro house because of the delightful horse and rider bas relief. After some on-line research, I learned that this lovely two-story Mediterranean Revival house was built in 1926, in the early days of our community.
Here’s a sense of other older homes between ours and the supermarket, I’m drawn to the architectural details:
What will be in their futures?
A graceful, sprawling one-story Mediterranean Revival home that has been neglected for a number of years (see April 15 post) has always caught my eye. This old lady was built in 1930. One day, I did my usual thing and rambled around the bay-front property. I remember some years ago, Daughter came home reporting that this house had suffered from a fire. Since then, she had remained isolated behind a chain link fence, abandoned, but rumored to be restored.
You can imagine my utter shock to drive back on the way back from the weekly supermarket excursion to see construction equipment meant to tear her down. I watched every few days as her graceful beauty was rudely dismantled. There seemed to be no interest in preserving her mosaics or lion fountains. The trope is that it’s less expensive to build new than the bring older structures to our 21st century building codes.
I know the loss of a historic home is incomparable alongside the daily numbers of lives lost. Still, I feel bereaved knowing that this dignified old lady will be replaced by a straight-lined concrete behemoth with little concern for lot lines and lacking in the grace of earlier structures that once filled our neighborhood.
Is this what is next?
Sorry to see that house coming down. Commercial structures – especially hotels – get a lot of attention in the historic preservation campaign and should. But so should these lovely houses.
They are lovely. Have a good weekend