John Page/Judith Howard letter
As I read the letter submitted by concerned organ builders to
"World's Fair" magazine, and for consideration by the FOPS, I am
reminded of similar efforts in the historic building realm to
preserve the heritage represented by structures of significant
historical or architectural merit.
The basic dilemma is, I think, how do people who are sensitive to the
irreparable loss of what we have inherited from our ancestors -- a loss
that is incurred when unwise alterations are made by their owners to
buildings, objects, artifacts which they have become owners of by
design or accident -- channel or restrict the owners' absolute right
and freedom to do whatever they choose with what they own?
I would sooner wrestle with a pit bull than tell the owner of the one
remaining original cobblestone building in our community that he cannot
tear it down to build a gas station on the site. But that is what is
likely to happen, unless our town or the local historical society steps
in to buy the building and have it moved to a safe location.
Lacking government ordinances controlling and restricting owner
rights -- and what government is brave enough to enact the necessary
legislation? -- there isn't much an organization can do except: educate
insensitive owners to their responsibilities as guardians; use moral
authority to dissuade builders from agreeing to undertake butcher jobs;
and encourage public outcry and protest against such butcher jobs as do
take place in spite of the organization's efforts.
It's an uphill war; some battles will be lost, but there should be some
famous victories too. Just ask the carousel preservation community.