Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Preparing to say goodbye

Windows to a murky future
Thamesford, ON
June 2013
For more Thematic "in rough shape", head here
It's a familiar story: historic old building, once a vital pillar of the local economy, falls on rough times and slowly decays while owners do nothing and community members stand by in frustration, wishing they could do more.

The Thamesford Mill is, sadly, playing this same tune and like so many before it, things don't look all that positive.

June 2013
I pass by this iconic structure a few times per week, and it never fails to impress me. Hard by the river at a major intersection on the east side of town, it literally defines this place. Built over a century ago, it's been empty for 20 years, and from the looks of it time is running out.

Demolition crews have already removed a chunk of the building - I'm guessing the storage sheds between the riverside mill itself and the silos behind it. I keep hoping against hope that they won't come back to finish the job, that someone will swoop in, buy the place and miraculously invest in a complete renovation.

March 2013
But we all know that miracles don't just happen. And economic reality doesn't always align with the emotions of a community. If the numbers don't add up, all the sentiment in the world won't keep this place from finally succumbing to the wrecking ball.

Which would deeply sadden me. Because it'll be hard to imagine what this street corner would look and feel like without it, and what this crossroads agricultural town would feel like without its anchor. Something tells me we'll never learn.

Your turn: If a miracle actually happens, what would/could this place become?


Kalei's Best Friend said...

How about a safe haven for homeless or a food bank..

Max Sartin said...

Lofts? There was a couple old warehouses here in Salt Lake that are now upscale lofts.

Unknown said...

How timely, Carmi! We just lost the fight to preserve the former Pan Am Worldport at JFK International Airport. But the good news is that the Hebald Zodiac Screen will be re-installed. Mr. Hebald is 96 years young and still works daily in his studio! This is our next project!

young-eclectic-encounters said...

I have a dream of restoring an old building like that into a working artists loft/gallery were multiple artists have their studios and patrons can see and talk to the artists at work and they run a combined gallery of their works. I have found towns online that have become artistic havens with such a building as an anchor.

tiff said...

Condos and apartments, much like the mill that site right next to our left hip (building wise). It's possible, and doable. Hope it's done in your town!