To the editor:
Because I feel so strongly about historic preservation, I decided to write a letter about it. Some say the definition of historic preservation is to preserve, conserve and protect buildings, objects, landscapes and other historical artifacts. Historic properties enhance the quality of life, establish a sense of place and define the character of the community.
Attleboro is so rich in historical assets, preservation needs to be a priority. We are doing well in finding new uses for our old buildings. The first mayor’s house is the Literacy Center and the old fire station is the Larson Senior Center. Bliss School, Hebron Mill and Watson Newell Factory (Mechanic Street) are all housing complexes. The Post Office has four new uses, Handy and Harmon Refinery is the Attleboro Industrial Museum, the Armory is the Bartek Recreation Center, and the 1849 Blackinton home is a restaurant.
We also have restored one-room school houses where educational programs are conducted for our students to experience. So it seems like history is alive in Attleboro.
But there is also history we have lost — the Tappan House, St. Stephen’s Church, and Lincoln School.
History keeps our community vibrant, beautiful and livable.
It also gives the residents a sense of stability, a stake in their surroundings and a tangible link to the past.
Besides being known as the “Jewelry Hub of the World,” we had the world’s largest diner (Wrightman’s), the largest dye works (Wolfenden’s) and the tallest standpipe (on Ide’s Hill). Fruit of the Loom was made at Dodgeville Mill.
Attleboro has such an impressive cultural history — we need to continue to preserve it, protect it and make its presence known to our residents and people just visiting our city. Maybe they’ll be stuck by what they see and want to stay.
Businesses need to recognize what we have had and what they can become.
We need to pass our understanding of the past on to the next generations. Preservation is progress!