October 13, 2012
Bad Buildings in Nice Towns
Why are you saving that old building?
That’s what some people have asked us about our effort to save the Stone Bank.
“Drive up to Deloraine,” we respond. “That is why.”
Deloraine is a Canadian town about 25 miles from Bottineau. A boom town at the turn of the 20th century, its bustling commercial district had many buildings of brick and stone. But that was then.
Thanks to a photo display in the entry of the Rendezvous Restaurant, we can see that Deloraine. Today’s Deloraine is a different story. This slideshow is a cautionary tale about what gives a town its sense of place and how it can be lost, even though a few traces of the past remain.
Your Stone Bank blogger doesn’t know how or why Deloraine’s fine buildings were lost. Fire is a likely culprit in some cases — but in others “progress” was probably the reason some buildings were taken down.
Deloraine is a fine town with nice people and a good restaurant. The display of flags from around the globe is impressive. But wouldn’t it be a better town with some of those grand old buildings still standing and in use? We think so.
Any town can become Deloraine — all it takes is indifference, forgetting history and substituting cheap and serviceable buildings for those that are elegant and enduring. Towns all across the country face the same fate if someone doesn’t take up the challenge to save the great buildings. (There are plenty of Deloraines in North Dakota.)
The Stone Bank Project is our effort to save a great building in Bottineau. It’s not easy. It’s probably not even sensible. But it does matter.
We’d love to see your comments!
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