Thursday, November 5, 2009

Anderton's Away

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 8:00 AM

I drove by Anderton's yesterday on the off chance that there might still be some cool stuff to scavenge, and I have to admit, I almost drove right by it.

I've seen it a million times. I've driven past it a million times. In fact, my first wreck in Memphis happened right in front of it (someone rear-ended me, totally not my fault).

So how could I miss it?

Quite simply, because it was gone.

I'm not a huge preservationist. I think we should re-use buildings when we can because it saves resources, but I don't think we should save a building just because it's old or because someone who was once someone happened to stroll through.

At some point, you have to say out with the old and in with the new.

Anderton's passing, however, illustrates another reason to try and preserve select buildings and facades: Our urban environment is almost completely informed and shaped by our built environment. Take away the buildings and you, in essence, erase a little piece of Memphis.

Without the buildings that define the space or the landmarks that city residents depend on, a place becomes easily and quickly unrecognizable. And depending on what replaces it, it might stay that way.

But the hope is, of course, that whatever comes to replace it will one day be just as recognizable and, in this case, well-loved as what was there before.

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