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Don't let your heritage be stolen by short-lived corporations

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

Speaking in regards to the Hathaway House, I am hoping to help convince the owners of Cafua and the citizens of Laconia not to allow the demolition of this bit of your heritage. Don't for a moment think that because there is a lake nearby that tourists will seek out your town and patronize your businesses if the soul of your town has been lost. Travelers are seeking places that have preserved that feel of a simpler, quieter time. Structures like the Hathaway House exude that feeling.
I have watched the Hathaway House, year after year, in articles in your local papers. I've read about the hopes and plans for saving the building. I've driven by. I've been waiting. I am a summer visitor. I live in Massachusetts but I am not from New England.
I come from a small town in New York. My little town was a spa destination for New York City vacationers back in the early 20th century. Much of my town's heritage was completely lost in the 1950s by imminent domain when the St. Lawrence Seaway was built. The town was told that we would again become a tourist's Mecca. Pavilions were built overlooking the St. Lawrence River to provide a vantage point to watch ocean going ships pass by toward the Great Lakes. They were pavilions to watch prosperity passing us by without stopping. The pavilions are now derelict or simply fallen down or razed. Since then the train of thought has been 'tear it down and build new. New is better/cleaner/modern and a sign of prosperity.
Unfortunately, the new buildings are now shabby and in need of replacement... and on and on it goes. All that is left are fast food chains and prefab buildings. This is urban blight. It is devouring our country.
There was a plan in the seventies to renovate and preserve what little was left of the history there. It never happened. Now there is nothing left to preserve.
The last quality landmark, the mayor's house on Main Street, was torn down to make way for a bank about 10 years ago. It is a sad little town that has died multiple times over. This is why people like me love New England.
I go to New Hampshire to seek out that feeling where there is a sense of place. A place that is undying.
Don't let this happen to Laconia. Don't let your heritage be stolen by short-sited corporations whose profits don't even stay in your town.
Your Hathaway House is a treasure.
Preserve this landmark for all future generations to enjoy.

Jean LaPoint
Lowell, Massachusetts