There have been lots of changes around here recently. I started this blog, and I graduated from college. (Better late than never, right?) Gene has been removing the floor of the old straw mow and using it to re-side the barn. We’re planning some new gardens. Although a lot of the reason we moved here was for the history of the place, no one wants to live in a museum, so we’ve made updates to the old home place since we moved in. However, some of the changes in the neighborhood lately haven’t been very positive.
Don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of farmland. We have a fair bit of it ourselves, and before we moved here when we used to go driving in the country and see new subdivisions full of McMansions springing up out of cornfields, Gene would say, “I think that farmer planted the wrong seed.” But when perfectly good buildings with history are razed to give someone an acre or two more ground to plant, I shake my head, and in some cases, shed a tear or two.
See, by the time Gene’s grandpa took over the farm, two of his older brothers, Emil and Bruno, had settled on acreage not far from Pleasant Home Farm, and the brothers shared an orchard that they planted in the fencerow that joined their property. Uncle Bruno’s house fell down years ago, but Uncle Emil’s was still standing until last week.The man who bought it cut down the trees and burned down the house. Of course, that was his right, and he was kind enough to allow some people to salvage portions of the interior, but it was sad to see it go. It looked so much like our house. I’m sure the brothers, Arthur, Bruno, and Emil, built it together with their father Julius.
Just a few days ago we lost another piece of history when Linwood School was burned down, again to clear land for more farming. It was a one-room country school built in 1900 and it educated kids from Kindergarten through eighth grade until it closed in 1968. I wrote a story about it for the local radio station. It’s been a private residence for years. It went into foreclosure two years ago, and the bank wanted it off its hands. I can understand that. So can Gene, but he went there from Kindergarten to 5th grade, and it was hard on him to watch it burn. He salvaged some maple flooring from the school to put in our library. That seems fitting.
I’ve been accused of impatience, but in this case I guess I just don’t understand what all of the hurry for destruction was. From the time that we learned the properties had changed hands to the days these buildings were destroyed was just a few weeks, even though there’s still snow on the ground and planting won’t start until April. It’s this throw away mentality that bothers me. Both buildings were still as solid as the day they were built, more than 100 years ago. I can’t guarantee it, but maybe with a few more weeks we could have found someone to move the school or the farmhouse so that they, and not just their memories, could have lived on.