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Published: Sunday, 11/27/2011

Good riddance to the Seneca courthouse

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

After two-plus years of incessant Blade editorials and front-page news accounts rehashing the same issues, the Seneca County Courthouse is finally going to be torn down ("Seneca Co. board OKs deal to raze courthouse; Contract for demolition is approved on 2-1 vote," Nov. 23).

Seneca County voters twice rejected levies to restore the old courthouse, while a few die-hard preservationists fought to keep it.

If nothing was ever replaced, we would still be living in caves and mud huts. It's better to build something new that will still be beautiful and functional 100 years from now than to whine about a building that has served its purpose.

One piece of good news: I won't have to read about the Seneca County Courthouse any more, after the front-page news of the demolition and one or more additional editorials.

Joseph Pflager
Maumee

A plea from Ga. to save courthouse

As a graduate student in the historic preservation program at Savannah College of Art and Design, I became aware of the plight of the Seneca County Courthouse while conducting research. Two county commissioners have elected to demolish the building, but what will go on the site after demolition remains unclear.

The fate of the courthouse is a contentious issue in Seneca County, so much so that it seems the commissioners have lost sight of what is best for the future of the county and Tiffin, where the courthouse is located.

Historic civic structures are often anchor buildings in a small community such as Tiffin. A courthouse that is more than 100 years old undoubtedly has been a landmark of the town for that time. Buildings such as the courthouse serve as timekeepers that remind citizens of their history and promote civic pride.

The courthouse is a grand Beaux Arts structure with a unique Art Deco tower. Assessments have found that the building is structurally sound and restorable. Although demolishing the building and clearing the site might save money in the short term, it will forever deprive future citizens of a historic sense of place.

Buildings have value other than economic worth, as do people, places, and things. Although the courthouse is not of national importance, it is a local monument.

Anything built in its place will be of lesser quality, simply because of the limitations of modern architecture and economics. Demolishing it and replacing it with a park or parking lot will forever alter the landscape of the town.

Seneca County has options other than demolition. Disregarding these and demolishing the courthouse is a regrettable mistake.

Julie Yost
Savannah, Ga.



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