Thursday, February 08, 2007

Historical vs Old

"Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks" Ecclesiastes 10:18

I love coming across old barns or old cabins, especially in the middle of nowhere. There is so much to wonder about when I see one. I wonder who lived there. What sort of farm did they have? Is it really really old or has time and weather just been really hard?

My thoughts seem to be the same as many others for I always hear people saying "I love old barn photos.". This particular barn is not to far from where I live. I like to photograph it in the different seasons. I was out there on Sunday morning after a new dusting of snow to see if I could capture it in a white winter blanket.

It has signs on it now asking people to keep out for their own safety but visitors are more than welcome to explore all around the outside. It has definitely stood strong through many years.

I often wonder about the purpose of some heritage buildings. Though I appreciate many of them, like this barn, sometimes I wonder why others were even bothered with. A certain building in our town is going through the process of deciding whether or not it should be deemed a heritage building and if so, preventing any more upgrades to be done to it. This sort of annoys me because in my opinion, its just an old junky building. Though its history is important to the people who know it, its appearance and frame just come across as old. Maybe I'm just not sentimental enough but I believe a far greater good would be done by knocking it down, building a new building in its place and dedicating the new building with old photographs and the story of the building's history in its foyer.

I don't suppose I'll be asked to participate in this town's historical society any time soon. I do understand the purpose of heritage sites. If I didn't appreciate the buildings of the past, I wouldn't be photographing old barns & buildings. But sometimes I wonder if the effort of preservation is worth it in the long run on certain things, like this building in town. Its not really a building that tourists are going to drive by and notice and think "what a neat old building, lets stop here and look around.". But they may drive by and think "what an old building!" and keep driving by.

Or maybe I like small 'grasps' of history but don't appreciate saving the whole. For example, I can't wait to restore a junky old door with glass panes in it to replace a regular interior door in my house. Not because I know any of its history, just because I think it will look kind of cool and the glass will allow more light through. I suppose I could have just gone out and purchased some sort of french door to serve the same purpose but I'm attached to the thought of using this old one. And besides that, I got it free!

So, though it sounds like I'm a bit on the fence, I think I'm more about careful selection. Some historical things should be preserverd & revered, others are just old and its time to let them go!


  1. Thats a tough one, all right, Becky! I think a person who perhaps has lived in the area all their lives might feel more passionate about some of those old, uglies - more because it's a part of their own history and heritage than esthetically pleasing.

  2. Anonymous1:12 PM

    Having been a person that has lived in the same town most of my life I understand preserving heritage TO A POINT.Museums are very important and remembering our past is important, it is sad to see old familiars disappear, but also beneficial to progress. When in Rome we travelled over a bridge that was 500 years old and still used as a main thoroughfare, I remember the opening of the Okanagan Bridge, but it is time to replace it too.I agree more with memorials than I do with actually keeping useless and ugly buildings in prime areas, the saddest things I see being torn down are our orchards.Guess I am not a candidate for the Heritage Clubs either:)Mom