Advocate editorial board opinion: Once demolished, historical pieces of a community are forever gone

By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 21, 2011 at 2:21 a.m.

We've all seen them, and every town has them. Houses that have fallen so far into disrepair, they seem uninhabitable.

But sometimes those homes are more than just broken-down buildings waiting for demolition. They are important pieces of history.

Such is the case with the Rose Lambert-Hynes-Whitlow home, recently condemned, in Refugio. The city has placed this piece of history on a demolition list, along with 20 other structures, after an inspector evaluated the condition of 31 homes in the town.

Unless the owner of the home appeals, the Rose Lambert-Hynes- Whitlow home could be demolished in early August.

We ask, why the sudden urgency to demolish homes? Yes, Refugio is growing, but such a valuable, visible piece of the city's history should receive every chance it can for restoration, rather than demolition. As the city grows, sites such as these will become valuable tourist hot spots, if managed correctly.

And after all, when have you seen a shiny new building in an advertisement to visit a historic town? What you typically see are classic structures tied to the history and culture of the place.

We've seen the effects of losing historic structures in Victoria, and several of what could have been beautiful structures for future generations to enjoy have gone beyond our reach.

We understand that it is expensive to renovate and maintain a historic home, but there are many options available to help with the cost. We ask that the property owner and city of Refugio get creative as they work to save this historic home.

There are grants and tax credits available to those working to restore a historic site on both the state and federal level.

There is also the possibility of selling or even giving the home to a private buyer who would be willing to do the restoration work on their own.

But whatever the method, we strongly urge the city of Refugio and the owner of the Rose Lambert-Hynes-Whitlow home to find a way to preserve this treasure.

After all, heritage is like the soul of a city.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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