Sunday, March 2, 2008

Why should I care?

Photo © Sue A. Williams

Not everyone is into historic landmarks and relics. Oftentimes you might feel that those preservationists are just standing in the way of progress. We can understand if you feel that way.

But think about this: Doesn't it make a big difference to you when it's not just something to look at, but something everyone can use and enjoy, the same way they did in the old days?

Memphis is full of historic buildings. But the best ones don't just sit there, empty, for you to look at. That would be waste of space and you'd eventually tire of them. The best ones are renovated and put to good re-use -- as homes, businesses, and public amenities and attractions.

That's the way it is with the Cobblestones. They're not just relics. They are part of a great commercial riverboat landing, one that has been in continuous use to this very day. Didn't you bring Aunt Martha and the family down there last summer to take a riverboat cruise? Didn't you all enjoy your experience, feeling like it was the real thing? That's because it was!

You and your guests could only have had this experience because you were in Memphis. As it says at the top of this page:
Today, of all the great river landings on the Ohio, Missouri, and upper Mississippi rivers, the Memphis [Cobblestone] Landing is acknowledged to be the best preserved of these important commercial places.[1]

Sure, the City can fix the Cobblestones -- clean up the area, replace the missing ones, and give you what they like to call "access." But that will only satisfy the law, the historians, and the preservationists. If you take away their principal use, the Cobblestones' reason for being, then you've taken away their heart and soul, leaving only a lifeless relic of a bygone era.

And that would soon get boring.

Watching the sunset from the Cobblestones. (Photo by Virginia McLean)

1. Garrow report, January 1996.

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