Blog writers sometimes wonder just how many of the 1,800 individuals who get the blog, read and enjoy it. Reviewing the records shows that about one-third of recipients do so every time and others not so much. Some longtime blog recipients may recall about three years ago, we posed the questions – who would care if R&R stopped From the Porch? R&R was not threatening to do so, we just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention. It seemed users and members were indeed listening; their responses was overwhelming, don’t stop!
So, don’t think for a minute R&R is suspending the blog, in truth we are contemplating expanding From the Porch and offering new materials related to the historic homeplace experience. An example of what R&R is hoping to offer is spotlighting individuals across the South that make a difference to preservation activities. One of these exemplary individuals could easily be Mr. Bill Segars of Hartsville, S.C. Many of you have indeed noticed his wonderful photographs on R&R’s pages.
Besides the previously mentioned blog, two others did receive significant responses – “Southern Stickies” and “The Redundant Church“. I have always enjoyed my wife’s Southern stickies, perhaps a little too much and comments from readers flooded in discussing their memories of stickies, so rewarding! I also fondly recall the first time touring Scotland and viewed abandoned church buildings, what they refer to as being redundant. These two subjects attracted considerable outpouring from R&R’s audience, perhaps each representing a unique piece of nostalgia. Having just returned from a trip to the N.C. mountains, I witnessed a number of abandoned churches that were active just a decade ago. Oh so sad! Will they too simply fall into decay and be left to the elements….
Redundant church and store buildings:
Some old churches can be adapted for reuse as social halls, community centers, wedding chapels, restaurants, art galleries, antiques shops, etc., but the vast majority are simply going to be demolished or left to decay. It seems this story-line is in part a consequence of the 2008 depression. When an attorney – relative stated in 2008, that he felt it would be ten years or more before the country recovered, I laughed. The depression didn’t hit hard in tourist areas or high tech corridors but in rural American it has been tragic, abandoned building and vacant houses everywhere. R&R was even recently informed of a struggling N.C. mountain town, that has never embraced it’s massive artists colony, had initiated a new dialogue. Artisans were all to often viewed this influx of individuals as outsiders, with no role in the economic well being of the town. But recently town fathers took the extraordinary step of invited local artists, potters, and craftsman to tour their own downtown and witness first hand the empty store fronts – asking them for their financial and creative help in solving a major problem! Most struggling artists can’t afford to financially buy and restore a massive commercial department store but at least one small mountain town is thinking out of the box. They realize allowing Walmart to construct a massive complex on the bypass didn’t bring but a few jobs, while killing family businesses and employment in the downtown. Now taken the initiative to start a dialogue with “outsiders” might just hold the key to their long-term salvation.
R&R therefore poses the question once again, why is it that tax money can go into all sorts of renewal energy programs, sports complexes and social handout programs but practically nothing is being done to sustain and promote preservation. Recycling historic building, including redundant churches, is one of the best ways for American to save a piece of history while being responsible stewards of the carbon footprint. Preservation is not on the front burner but you know of success stories from your own backyard? Who is really making a difference – preserving something special, share their story with R&R so they too can perhaps be showcased?
We want to communicate and visit these individuals and feature their stories! Look for more information on Bill Segars along the way…..
A R&R Note: Thank all of you who took time to respond to the recent email concerning R&R’s long-term development. We received responses including; I don’t read the blog because it is too long, I wish the pictures were enlargeable, wish you had a synopsis of data as a first paragraph, and of course many who simply stated please don’t change a think. Several responses were indeed insightful but for the most part, the R&R audience appears to appreciate From the Porch’s rambling muses, memories and memorabilia. We still would like to hear from you, there are many improvements that can and are going to be made to the website!
From the Porch – Blog @ RootsandRecall.com – 6.15.17