Jim Allen recently wrote a letter to this paper saying that “They are just OLD BUILDINGS,” and it doesn’t matter if the Crossing tears these buildings down. When I was five I was helping my dad around our house. He said to me, “Bob, we don’t really own this house.” I said, “What do you mean, I thought we owned it”. Dad continued, “Well yes, we’re buying it but we also have a responsibility to take care of it. We need to be good stewards of this fine old house and do good work that lasts so generations of other families can enjoy it as well.”
I suspect many folks in Hannibal agree with Mr. Allen’s throwaway mentality. There’s certainly never been any political leadership in Hannibal that promoted taking care of our architectural heritage. Over the years I’ve learned that old buildings have “embodied energy”. Simply put, all the best old growth lumber, the stone, the brick, the labor and the pollution created to make the original materials has value. When we tear down old or historic buildings, all the energy is lost in a landfill. We then have to create a new structure using inferior lumber, stone, plastic windows, synthetic stucco, plastic siding and more pollution.
My father’s stewardship ethic has stayed with me and I continue to teach it to my Historic Preservation Trades students at Hannibal High School.
Bob Yapp