Unbelievable. The face of my hometown was changed forever last night, as a local landmark building burned to the ground. It was a 6-alarm blaze with more than 15 departments called. I didn’t even know a 6-alarm fire existed.
The old Garver Bros. store had been standing there since 1866. It’s a tiny town, and this was the largest building in it. It was converted to an antique store/flea market long ago, and had a small collection of old town memorabilia on the second floor. When I was a kid, it was the best place to find plastic necklace charms and jelly bracelets.
A few months ago I went to the weekly Sunday flea market for the first time in years, in search of some “projects-to-be”. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but did find some electric train cars, a collection of old postage stamps, and some great old sheet music to take home with me. I spent a little time up in the museum area looking through the pieces and enjoying the history. I hadn’t been up there before, and I’m now glad I took those extra few minutes.
Between this fire, and the demolition of the old school building where I spent all of my K-12 years, the landscape of my little town is sure going to look different when I next visit. And while it isn’t where I’ve chosen to live now, I can appreciate how it shaped my perspective of the world. Some of my greatest friends to this day were made during those years.
Sure, the downtown area can be rebuilt. The school already has been remodeled and updated for the needs of the kids who are there now. The new building is creating great memories for those kids. The block will evolve and hopefully bring in new business and opportunity. But for those of us who started out as or still are “small-towners” it’s a big hit to the gut. Maybe it’s the idea that “home” has always been constant and unchanging.
I’m sad at hearing the news. I’m guessing there will be a bit of shock when I finally see the empty spaces. And I’m angry at the thought of some nimrod (the nicest word I can think of ) burning it down on purpose. I hope the community can join together to create something positive from this.
So many thoughts swirling today…