Preservation is for everyone

There’s no question that the old Gilman Garrison house should be preserved as a historical monument. The Gilman family owned lucrative sawmills and had shipping interests so in 1709 they built a fortified structure of massive sawn logs on the banks of the Squamscot river. There’s a pulley over the door to operate a portcullis in case the French and Indian’s came calling. Just the thing for a bored kid being dragged around history and the elegantly paneled rooms of the later renovation satisfy the adults. The Gilman Garrison house should be preserved just as it is, what about the garage just down Water street?

I don’t live in the area anymore so I don’t know if the battle has been lost but this garage is actually more significant historically and technically than it’s more romantic neighbor. It’s an example of the kind of facilities that the oil companies built in their first expansion. These are the same big oil companies who exist now. Gas stations are modernized as fast as possible and the old ones are replaced. Our garage survived by the owner’s decision to sell tires and service more than gasoline. The walls are also are an example of the first uses of commercial cinderblock. Most of those building were also considered disposable and demolished. At the time I was involved there were four known examples of this building type left standing and ours was in jeopardy.

“I wouldn’t shop in there it’s so dirty.” was one of the comments made. Others commented about the quality of the tires sold when architects were trying to explain the significance of the building. It’s happened before. George Washington’s home Mount Vernon was in danger of being demolished until it was rescued by one of the first preservation efforts in 1853. Pennsylvania Station in New York was demolished in 1964 to the shock of almost everyone who’d passed through.

It’s time to look around you and think. Preservation isn’t just for mansions and battlefields. There is currently legislation and support to encourage rural areas to begin “Main Street” historical programs. Imagine a tourist from a hundred years from now walking through your area and what she’s amazed at. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts she’s snapping holo pics of what seems perfectly ordinary to you. Think about when the last time you saw a McDonald’s that looked like the ones they had when you were a kid. Did you just suddenly realize that you haven’t seen one in a while? That right there is what we’re talking about

Preservation: the action or process of protecting, maintaining, and/or stabilizing the existing materials, form, and integrity of a historic place or of an individual component, while protecting its heritage value. Preservation can include both short-term and interim measures to protect or stabilize the place, as well as long-term actions to retard deterioration or prevent damage so that the place can be kept serviceable through routine maintenance and minimal repair, rather than extensive replacement and new construction.

Rehabilitation: the action or process of making possible a continuing or compatible contemporary use of a historic place or an individual component, through repair, alterations, and/ or additions, while protecting its heritage value.

Restoration: the action or process of accurately revealing, recovering or representing the state of a historic place or of an individual component, as it appeared at a particular period in its history, while protecting its heritage value.

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3 Responses to Preservation is for everyone

  1. Ellen says:

    I completely agree. I was so happy to discover that my historic childhood home in New York has been kept up. Mine aren’t the only memories tied there and its historical impact will only increase as time goes on.
    As for that garage on Water Street, I believe it’s gone but I’ll do a drive-by to be sure.

    • chikuba says:

      Oh yes I’d love to know if it’s still there. If you can drive by or knows someone who passes through that area could you let me know for sure so I can add that as a note at the bottom.

  2. Patrick says:

    Most old service stations are gone, not many ’round here anymore. They are important land marks too.

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