Sunday, October 09, 2005

If you could have one back

New Albany, like all towns and cities, has lost its share of spectacular structures. If you could have one back, which one would it be?

For me, it would have to be the old YMCA at the corner of the Pearl and Main. Why? Despite the obvious irony (it had a pool and 2 gyms, got razed, we're building a new one with similar spec's) it appeared to be a grand structure. I can only imagine the view from the 4th story turret. If it were still around, maybe we'd be talking about renovating the old Y to the new Y.

How about you? Is there a downtown building or residence that you wish was still around? Why? If you've got a story or personal experience to share please do.


The New Albanian said...

The old Post Office, corner of Spring and Pearl.

For some reason, I remember it (faintly), but not the old courthouse at all.

Good idea, Ted.

ceece said...

Gosh there are so many. If anyone hasn't had the pleasure to look through New Albany in Vintage Postcards by Dave Barksdale and Robyn Davis Sekula, do it.

It may not have been a "building" per say, but it was the park, where they had so many celebrations. (Forgive me as i don't remember the exact name or location, I don't have the book with me at work).

I can't wait to see others responses!

bluegill said...

Maennerchor Halle (the building that once stood where the new firehouse was built at 4th and Spring). It was originally slated to be a part of the new fire structure but collapsed from neglect prior to rehab.

It's Unitarian origins, Germanic heritage, theater history, and open architecture could have coalesced quite nicely into a perfect space for a German-style kunst hall for art and educational purposes.

Come to think of it, the new firehouse that nobody seems to want fits that bill as well.

TedF said...

Good one Ceece. I've got the book in front of me now. That postcard is rather enchanting. The fountain gave the park a Savanah like feel.

Brandon W. Smith said...

Although I wasn't around to see it, I think the old Post Office is the most heartbreaking demolition mentioned in New Albany in Vintage Postcards.

Brandon W. Smith said...

Oh, that and the Reising brewery pictured at Rich-Os...for obvious reasons.

na girl said...

I remember the old post office building as being kind of scary. Even now that corner is shaded by the other buildings and that big, old abandoned building always seemed so cold and lonely.

It was torn down in the summer and my mother took my brother down to watch. My brother was particularly fascinated by the demolition and happliy spent hours standing and watching.

My grandparents' friend, Charles Condra, saved architectural elements from several old New Albany buildings and I think he had some pieces from the post office.

When it comes to old buildings I tend to prefer Federal, Greek Revival, and Italianate styles.

The morning that I saw the pile of snow covered bricks that had been Maennerchor Halle I felt sick. What a shame.

A building that comes to mind that I would have liked to have seen was not one of the grand buildings.

My mother has a nagging memory of a building that she remembered seeing when she was a child. She actually wondered if it was a real. The vague memory was of an old abandoned building that she thought might have been a school at one time. She remembered passing the building on the way home from church (church was Centenary Methodist on Spring St and home was Hedden Court off Charlestown Rd).

She figured that it must have been on Elm and was past 8th street and that it was not St Mary's.

Many times I looked at the area and figured that either the existing buidlings would have been there when she was a child, I knew what had been there, or I actually remembered what had been there. I could not figure out where a school could have been and I had never heard of one in that area.

When I read Pam Peter's book several years ago I found a clue to the mystery of the missing building. She writes that the new Albany Theological Seminary was established in 1847 and was located at the corner of Elm and Seventh.

That had to be the building my mom remembered. I thought. I went and looked at the site and realized one of my mistakes in tracking down this building was the kind of school buidling that I was picturing--big and of a much later vintage.

I found a picture (can't remember where at this moment), showed it to my mother, and sure enough, that was the building she remembered.

And even though it wasn't one of the grander buildings, it was a very early one and I am really sorry that it couldn't have lasted until I could have seen it.

It was there in 1847 and it was probably there until sometime in the 1940's (maybe longer).

TedF said...

Thanks for the post NA Girl. The post office comes up in many discussions I've had with folks. I especically like the memory of one eyewitness to the start of demo who described the wrecking ball "bouncing" off the structure. It appeared to be a sturdy building and I can only assume it took quite an effort to bring down.

na girl said...

I think I have a couple pictures that I took of the post office being torn down. They probably aren't very good since I was just a little kid but I am going to see if I can find them.