Thursday, August 21, 2014

Teardown Times Three

There's a tenet of Paganism called the Threefold Law: Any harm you do comes back upon you threefold.

Today I am sending the intention of the Threefold Law against the developer who built this hideous mess:

This mess of McMansions sits on land that was once a farm. The land is about five miles from Antietam Battlefield.

Sitting in the midst of this heinous assault upon the rural countryside was this:

A Regency Era home (just ditch the porch and you'll see it) with the original cellar, flooring, and kitchen cabinetry. In 2008 I toured this home, because the developer of the McMansions expelled the tenant and left the place unlocked, hoping it would be vandalized.

There are all sorts of rules and regulations about tearing down houses that are on the Historical Register. Houses that probably served as hospitals during the Civil War. Houses that retain their original architectural elements.

Rules don't mean squat.

Today on her Facebook page, my sister lamented the overnight destruction of this property. It has been completely razed.

I tried to alert the county Historical Society to the plight of this home. I also fruitlessly searched for an old friend who was once a preeminent historian in the county. Sis, who lived within 200 yards of the house, did nothing.

There are three abandoned McMansions in Sis's neighborhood. The grass has grown up around these houses, and it's not clear if they are even up for sale. The families just stole away in the night, probably after being unable to make the mortgage note.

This is rural disaster. This is the character of a region being sucked down the drain.

I feel guilty. I should have done more to try to save that house.

But worse, I feel furious. This is a historic area, prime valley farmland, full 70 miles from Baltimore and Washington.

Threefold cursed be they who ordered the teardown of this house. Threefold cursed be they who carried out the act. And may the owners of the McMansions on the tract, one and all, face the reality of modern home construction. What do you think my sister's house will look like when it is as old as the one that was just razed?


Anne Basso said...

My parents are both retired public school teachers. As a child, their idea of vacation, was visiting museums and historical sites. Some kids hate that. But, I loved it.

I remember walking through 150 year old homes and imagining the lives of the people who lived there. They breathed that air, and walked those hallways, leaving a little bit of themselves behind. I always thought I could feel them there.

We take something away from ourselves and our children when we treat our past with such neglect abuse, and ultimate dismissal. And for what? McMansions, abandoned?

I'm so saddened by this post. I'm sorry, Anne.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a loss to the area! And to those who care about history.

To answer your question yesterday, Anne, I have never heard of WWI having wiped out any town's entire young male population so I think the American habit of putting everyone in the same platoon was not followed here.

Lucretia said...

By the Power of Three times Three,
This we Will, So mote it be!

And don't feel too guilty, Anne. YOU actually did something, even if it didn't work.

Anonymous said...

How sad, and what a waste. They could have moved a historic home if they didn't want it there.
Today's homes are planned to last 30 to 40 years, tops.

Anne Johnson said...

I think they could have moved it too. That house was solid. Someone was living in it when the developer bought the land. It had the modern amenities, but the kitchen looked right out of Jane Austen. Oh! I'm still so upset! One more reason never to visit my sister.

Maebius said...

Oh dear, I feel your pain!
The little town I grew up in wasn't quite as rural, but had a lovely historical building in it, surrounde3d by "park", that turned into what I call "The Projects" (McSuburb style housing) when the building got torn down. grrrrr.
x3 x3, x infinity.


west has declared war against each other..those who don't give a crap about the school building that was the original high school and was damaged in the's going to take over a million to fix it..lines have been drawn in the sand and you are either for or again...

Anne Johnson said...

Note to Kim: I'm reading "Small Gods."

Note to JS: I hope they restore the school. The school where I work was built in 1926. It has some add-ons, but damn. The main staircase is granite, and all the original classrooms have hardwood floors and slate blackboards. They will never tear down this school.

Davoh said...

Um, Anne; am too far away in geographe to consider collecting my aboriginal friends; invoking the spirits of the 'Rainbow Serpent" to actually do very much. Too far away.

However, my thoughts are with you.