Letters to the Editor week of 07-24-08


Paint pangs

To the Editor:

To welcome the annual meeting of the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, last week the historic limestone columns of the Grisard Building were painted. With no research, with no regard that the limestone is from famous Indiana quarries, with absolutely no respect for this unique feature in a commercial building in a town where cast iron posts and storefronts are dominant, a thick coat of glossy paint now obliterates the single redeeming architectural element of what is essentially a big box building.

The color “Kitchen Blue” was chosen to mask the stone. This color doesn’t harmonize with the soft color of limestone, or with red brick. While the paint job looks fresh and clean, the best you can say of the glossy surface of the venerable stone is that it looks scrub-able. The painting of the old stone columns results from a headlong and unadvised impulse with no consideration for history, custom, presentation, or restoration taste. It is part of the remaking the town of Vevay into a tourist attraction. Sensible restoration, while not always “eye catching,” is always attractive.

Look at our own Courthouse, just restored to full splendor. The handsome limestone columns were not painted. Go to Madison, go further to Philadelphia, go to Boston, go to Atlanta. There historic buildings are restored to their original appearance. The quarry stone, local to these cities, limestone, pink marble, brownstone, white marble . . . none is ever painted . . . ever. What enthusiastic ignorance led to wrecking the facade of the Grisard Building with a coat of paint. Dark blue was used to visually truncate the stately columns by “trimming” the base and capitals . . . the same colors used to paint the wooden doors and transom in a frenzy of ‘mix and match,’ with no regard for material. Under this coat of paint, one would guess the columns were also of wood.

This letter is an appeal to the committee which designs these restorations to “do something.” First alter the overwhelming commitment to “curb appeal” by researching the plans before you buy the paint. The glossy decorated buildings make the town look like a tourist trap. People coming to Vevay begin to wonder, “Do we have t’ pay t’ get in?”

Meredith Luhrs


Senior center

Dear Editor:

Mornings when we Seniors arrive at the Switzerland County Building of the Switzerland County Senior Citizen Center we use the time to go for a walk around the block.

We pass the Leathebury mural, around the corner to the Mercantile and the Bizarre Ladies to the furniture store on the corner. Then we stop, momentarily.

We than choose to go into the streets to walk with the cars rather than risk falling on the broken, bumpy sidewalk.

Kind of sad, isn’t it, that the senior citizens among others prefer the smooth street to the dangerous sidewalk?

Juanita N. Kirkendall


Successful event

Dear Editor:

On Friday of last week, about 100 people visited Vevay for the purpose of attending the regional annual meeting of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Constituents represented communities from across the southern part of the state. Historic Landmarks Foundation has been involved in Vevay for many years, contributing to several accomplishments, including rescue of the phenomenal Hoosier Theater and, more recently, rehabilitation of the Grisard Building on the corner of Main and Ferry streets. Vevay has recently taken on a real glow in its revitalization of the Main Street historic area. Together with the rich historic residential district along Market and Main streets, the town was duly showcased for an afternoon and evening of touring and dining – and even some shopping, I hear.

Many people contributed to making a successful event. The Switzerland County Historical Society, the Switzerland County Visitor Center, Vevay Main Street, Wallin Forge, Farnsley Gallery, Rosemont Inn, Ruter Chapel, the historic Copeland House, Luhrs Gallery, Main Street Cafe, the Hoosier Theater and the Schenck Mansion Bed & Breakfast all played pivotal roles in celebrating the occasion and entertaining the visitors. The day was also financially supported by attorney Ron Hocker, the Bizarre Ladies & Uppity Gifts, and the Switzerland County Community Foundation.

In all, there were many people supporting the day. Beyond thanking them, I want the community to know just how hard a very dedicated group of organizations and individuals are working to make historic Vevay perform so brilliantly. The heritage fabric is a crucial part of the local brand. It is a product that can perform with significant economic return and cultural satisfaction. A core group of organizations and individuals are realizing this fact and are daily contributors of time, sweat, heart and money. I trust they are known and appreciated. They are go-getters on behalf of your town.

Thanks to all for a great Rural Cool day in Vevay.

Kent Abraham

Director, Southeast Field Office

Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana

Bridge woes

To the Editor:

Once again this feckless bunch of County Commissioners have shown their disdain and contempt for some of the citizens of Switzerland County and our legitimate concerns about the direction in which the county is moving.

I’m sure most of us would have accepted a simple “mia culpa” for their foolhardy decision to remove and/or destroy one of the county’s architectural treasures and a “let us make it right” or at least a “let’s discuss it further” before we passed our final judgment on their decision.

But such was not the case at last Friday’s meeting between the commissioners and Historic Landmarks representatives concerned with this impending tragedy.

Due to his wife’s illness, Commissioner Bond, the principal protagonist in this political drama, could not attend this meeting and instead Brian Morton was chosen to deliver the death blow.

Like Pontius Pilate, the commissioners have effectively “washed their hands” of this controversy and have left the baby squarely on the McAlisters’ front porch.

As Burl Ives told Newman, Taylor, et al, in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” there is the odor of mendosity in the air.”

“I can smell it.”

I first thought I smelled it when Commissioner Bond and his unwitting “henchmen” cut that sweetheart, $20,000 an acre deal, with Craig Bond’s old “Trojan” playmate, for that bogus industrial park at Markland Dam.

Once again that odor is in the air.

I think a far less draconian solution to this simple trespassing/liability issue would have been found w ere it not for the fact that Craig Bond’s mother-in-law owns the land adjacent to the bridge.

The $20,000 plus being paid to the McAlisters would have bought a lot of chain link fence and “No Trespassing”, “Will Prosecute” signs. (Bilingual of course).

I’ve seen this tried and proven practice in locations as varied as San Diego, New York, Indianapolis and even in Madison, Indiana.

Why not here?

Now there is talk of moving the bridge. This, at a time when our current governor is actively supporting hiking/biking trails in the state. The trail currently under construction from Lawrenceburg to Rising Sun is utilizing the old truss bridge over Laughery Creek and that bridge is being refurbished as I write this letter.

The day is not far off when the entire Route 56 scenic byway will have a bike trail from end to end. That trail should cross over the Markland Bridge in its present location.

The price of gas is going to continue to rise and as it does, our vacations are, out of financial necessity, going to take on a markedly different flavor. One only had to drive by the new RV park at Markland, over the July 4th holiday, to see that this new trend is well underway.

I estimate that there were as many as 200 R.V.’s in the park, and guess what? Probably 75 percent of them were carrying bicycles.

These “temporary” custodians of the county’s future are being pound foolish.

I can’t bring myself to say they are being penny wise but they are definitely being pound foolish if they don’t see the economic potential inherent in keeping this “treasure.”

Steve Bladen

Tapps Ridge