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Old Buildings' Worth

Story ID:4282
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Local History
Location:Lakewood Ohio USA
Year:2008
Person:Suzana
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This week's Cleveland suburban newspaper (The Sun Post) had an article
with which I wholeheartedly agreed with. The writer's premise --"What
goes up shouldn't have to come down" made me realize that this young
writer-- Joanne Draus Klein is capable of providing deep insights re "problems"
which will probably precipitate a debate between those of us who say - "whoa"
and those who say "implode."

For one thing she regrets that her beloved Euclid Park Elementary School was
demolished in 2007. She opines: "If a place like Euclid Park --once rich with the
spirit of children and equally rich in structural appointments could be razed and
relegated to mere memory, any place could. And too many are."

She questions construction experts in their all too hastily arrived at views that
poor cost-benefit ratios necessitate bringing some buildings down. I rather
believe that their rationale is that there is more money in tearing down and
rebuilding than there is in repairing and saving. What a waste of money and
history. Of course, the builders have no complaints.

My beloved Harrison School came down a couple years ago in Lakewood, Ohio as
well. I implored the Lakewood School Board and the Historical Society to consider
the historical significance of this second oldest school in Lakewood. It had
been the school for the immigrant children of largely the Slovak and other
Eastern Europeans who had settled this little 8-street tract in eastern Lakewood
with the help of their employer -National Carbon.

At this time I'm sure the Board was well aware of the workings to designate
"Birdtown" (5 streets are named after birds) as an historical site, but chose
instead to ignore this and tore down the venerable and beautiful old school
as well as at least 8 immigrant homes to put up a spanking new school. In
my opinion, it is so out of place in the historical district which it has become.
If I could change the hands of time - the old school and the 8 houses would
be back there where they belong.

They claimed that a new school was necessary to improve academic achievement.
Well guess what-- it wasn't and it didn't. The report card on the new Harrison
was poor. It just goes to prove that it is not buildings and equipment which
will boost academic achievment but the willingness of pupils, parents, and
teachers to work in harmony. We Harrison alumni didn't do too badly from a
school which then had 8 grades and almost zilch in today's technology.

Having been a teacher for 20 years, I was lucky because in the 50's and 60's
the children were docile and the parents cooperative. I could not teach in
today's climate where more than likely the teachers have pupils who don't
want to learn, are incredibly spoiled, and have parents who don't care or who
question the teacher's credentials when problems arise. My respect and
admiration to all of you who are teachers today.

I also agree with Draus Klein's dislike seeing the way too many incidences
on TV of "staggering images of imploding, cascading buildings." Isn't this not
only destructive of history but wasteful of building materials as well? (Yes,
some of the rubble is salvaged but not enough for this penny pincher.) I love
old things and I'm not speaking of antiques which I have none unless my
mother's old curtain stretchers counts for something. Joke. My concerns
I believe are in harmony with my respect for the environment. The simple
home my parents bought in the 30's was built in 1905. I have made
improvements over time which were necessary for maintenance, but I never
even once considered the offer by the bank to sell my house to them for parking
space. I laugh when people tell me they are looking for houses with "character."
Mine has next to none but I hope the people who dwell in it do.