I know this is considered a food blog, but I wanted to mention something that is very near and dear to my heart. When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to go on a lot of vacations that allowed me to see a lot of great places. And, I went to school for history – public history to be specific. I absolutely love our American heritage and my ultimate dream is to own and restore a historic property. And I’m not talking 1900s – I mean something that was built no earlier than 1850. (Go big or go home, right?)
I am a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. As a member, I receive a magazine every other month. I call it “history nerd porn”. Yesterday, I received my magazine and I was ecstatic. I think I actually squealed with excitement.
While I love reading about the homes that were restored (and getting ideas for the future *wink, wink*), I hate reading the sad stories. This issue talked about the 11 most endangered sites. It’s extremely sad for me to continually read about sites threatened – or, at times destroyed – because of neglect and/or development.
For me, one of the saddest endangered site is the Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia. I made a trip there a few years ago when I was still in DC to see the site and go see the place where Stonewall Jackson’s arm is buried. (I’m a nerd – I know – I had to see it!) Now, they are threatening to place a huge Wal-Mart next to it – ruining the unbroken scenery and setting a precedence for future development. The National Trust for Historic Preservation reported the following in May of 2010:
In an area known for its rolling landscapes and distant Blue Ridge Mountain views, Walmart intends to construct 240,000 square feet of “big box” commercial sprawl within the historic boundaries of Wilderness Battlefield and immediately adjacent to the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, which protects only a portion of the battlefield. Walmart’s 51-acre development site would include a Supercenter store and other chain retail stores.
There has been a fight for this to stop ever since it was proposed. Historians, preservationists and others have all attempted to stop this from being built. As of today, there is still a question of what will happen. This would not only ruin the battlefield park, it would be disrespectful to the men who risked their lives and died at the Battle of the Wilderness. It really is a beautiful place.
Another site that is threatened is Gettysburg. There are proposals for a casino to be built a half mile away from the battlefield. This happens everyday, and now they are taking funds away from preservation to help balance the budget. I know this isn’t as important as other issues, but I truly believe that it is necessary to preserve our history for future generations.
I apologize for getting slightly political. I try to avoid it as much as I can. (Believe me, I can get political) But, if you care about these places, sign the petition. At the very least – just look at some historic buildings or places close to you and appreciate them just a little bit more. There are some really cool places around that you may not know about. And, who knows – soon, they might be replaced my a Wal-Mart. *shutter*
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