In the moment
If overzealous preservationists had their way, we could all still be living in log cabins.
That is, of course, an exaggeration, but it alerts one to the unrealistic and cost-prohibitive effort to save every old and often potentially dangerous structure.
Lisbon Council’s reactivation of an Architectural and Historical Review Board (AHRB) to benefit a single business owner attempting to obtain a liquor license has instead opened a Pandora’s Box of potential restrictions to property owners in the designated area.
Case in point is a local brewery’s expansion that called for clearing an old house on an adjacent property it owns. A member of the AHRB intervened by letter and the brewery owner reacted quickly within its legal rights and completed demolition. These types of boards often act arbitrarily and relish telling other people what to do with their own money.
The same situation arose with the brouhaha surrounding the demolition of the former Pine Tree Inn. The building sat empty for a few years and, unless someone with the passion and pocketbook opted to buy and renovate the building, the purchaser had every right to raze the structure.
Lest I be accused of having no heart for history, I live in a 126-year-old Victorian home in Lisbon that my husband and I have maintained well at great expense, as did the previous owners.
Let existing representative examples like the Historical Society’s Old Stone House Museum and train station be your camera to the past or buy the properties yourself, but don’t champion for survival of structures at others’ expense.