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Cecile
08-21-2006, 08:28 AM
Should Ghost Towns Been Preserved....or Not...or what?????



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An interesting debate on bodie.com has me asking this question. I've posted everything on my blog - and would appreciate comments here, on the blog, or heck on the bodie site if you want. But I'd like to know what others think. If you post here - I'll probably put on the blog, too, if you don't mind.


http://xplorhistcal.livejournal.com/61673.html

HollyDolly
08-21-2006, 09:17 AM
;) Yes i think they should.I wish i could go to Bodie and see all the things people left behind.Constantly people (read developers) are tearing away at our history.Even some of the old civilwar battle fields are in danger of developement.

Of course some buildings aren't historical and that,but there is a lot to learn about the past and the society that built these ghost towns and the lives these people lived.

Hate to see places like Bodie,Calico and others disappear.

LauraA
08-21-2006, 12:09 PM
Absolutely beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt these sites should be preserved! In my not-so-humble opinion, preserving the history of our Country for future generations is of the utmost importance, once it's gone, it's gone forever, leaving us and our progeny having to read about these places in our history books instead of experiencing them firsthand. If restoration and preservation are accomplished and the site then takes on a carnival/tourist atmosphere, so be it, even that is better than losing these places forever. We're a Country in our infancy by comparison to others. These quickly vanishing sites should be a kept as a tribute to the spirit of those early pioneers. After all, they are the ones who laid the foundations on which this great Country was built.



(falling off my soapbox now) :o

Cecile
08-21-2006, 12:29 PM
Yes, but the bigger question, as I discussed in my blog, is how should they be preserved? State Park, private ownership but open to visitors, closed off completely to anyone, an amusement park? And how do you feel about the different options?

old judge
08-21-2006, 01:23 PM
No question that some Ghost Towns can and should be preserved in a pro-active way. Towns that seem to lend themselves to education and tourism are few, and the resources for such undertakings are limited, as Cecile knows. But to me, a well preserved ghost town is one simply free of vandalism and, even, gratuitous taking. An old place with cemetery and a few evidences of roadways and habitation can be a real imagination starter.To be truthful, I haven't visited Bodie or Cerra Gordo, and likely will not go out of my way to do so. But lots of other folks will differ with me, and would enjoy, and benefit from visiting those places. I guess when you get right down to it, I don't mind sharing ghost towns with others. I just prefer not to do it at the same time. My wife, kid, a small group of like minded folks, ok, but paying crowds of the curious, no. Private ownership can be fine, if the ownership rights are primarily exercised in keeping out the evil doers, but somehow letting the good guys visit. But most ghost towns are easily accessible, in the legal sense, and unfortunately that means little preservation is ensured. OJ

LauraA
08-21-2006, 05:25 PM
Yes, but the bigger question, as I discussed in my blog, is how should they be preserved? State Park, private ownership but open to visitors, closed off completely to anyone, an amusement park? And how do you feel about the different options?


That's a tougher question Cecile. What comes to my mind are places like Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia...or on a grander scale, Williamsburg. Both are interesting sites to see, but both have that sterile look that places like this tend to have once the government is involved in the process. The feel and the flavor are gone, replaced by the reconstructed tourist attractions that'll bring in the big bucks to keep the restorations current as well as adding to the local economy. Although, more ancient than a ghost town, even the Tonto National Monument here in Arizona, the cliff dwellings of the ancient Salado Indians have that same sterile feel. Raked sand, trash bins and souvenirs aren't really a preservation of history, only a money making interpretation of what once was.
Private ownership's of ghost towns sounds good on the surface, but all too often, money constraints, insurance, changes of ownership or simply changes of heart can lead to the demise of privately owned sites. When that happens, the bulldozers aren't usually far behind.
It would be nice to think that these sites, relatively intact now but in fast decay, could remain that way for future generations to enjoy, but time, being the enemy, it can't be that way.
I suppose I'm from the camp that says, preserve it at any cost. Amusement park, tourist attraction, whatever it takes, if that's the only way to keep a site preserved, it's better than losing it completely. I personally wouldn't spend my money to see a sterile ghost town, but future generations may not have a choice.
If the mining sites I love exploring were wrapped in National Park plastic and had porta-potties on site, I wouldn't bother, but I'm sure there are those who would be thrilled to be given the opportunity to see a "real" mining camp from "the olden days."
There really isn't a perfect solution.

podunklander
08-21-2006, 06:21 PM
Yes, but the bigger question, as I discussed in my blog, is how should they be preserved? State Park, private ownership but open to visitors, closed off completely to anyone, an amusement park? And how do you feel about the different options?

Ghosttowns are part of our National Heritage and therefore when possible, should be preserved for the public trust. The integrity of the site and other factors should determine public access, etc. Historical resources such as these may be best managed by local, state and national governments. Bodie is a fine example - California State Parks has done a phenomenal job with preserving, maintaining, interpreting, etc., Bodie.

Private ownership is great too but there are fewer resources. Most States have preservation plans and there is some limited funding. Documenting, researching and stabilizing many of these sites as part of a preservation plan -at the very least funding for this in the form of grants and tax credits (I don't know what is available already) would be a great benefit.

Public funding for private property owner's should include at least limited accessibility for the public.

Having a site closed off isn't realistic...unless there's dangerous conditions and liability issues.

Most important is preserving these sites for future generations.

Pam

NWNative
08-21-2006, 06:26 PM
I just got back from a GT trip and we had this discussion! There is a town here called Roslyn. It was an old mining town up a canyon. The town was never completely deserted but pretty close. Over the years peopel have started moving back in but the place has a GT feel. The buildings are not "cute" and they are not pristine. You can see the old town, the main street has flase fronted buildings and old brick buildings. Sure there are antique stores and junk, but the feel is old. Then, on the edge of town we see a new "resort community" going up. Can anyone see where this will go? I see all the buildings being clean and cute, I see crap victorian trim being put on because it appeals to the tourist trade. I see all of the interesting old buildings sided in easy to maintain vinyl, the yard cleaned of all the unsightly old sheds, and so on.

Nest month is the Old Miiners Days celebration and I am going back to take phoos before the yuppies yupify it.

So, I would like to see them preserved but not sanitized. The old sheds are interesting, the old outhouses are interesting, the rusting hulks are interesting. I want to see how it was, not some pretty painted picture of an idyllic (SP?) mining town.

bad bob
08-21-2006, 07:46 PM
.

So, I would like to see them preserved but not sanitized. The old sheds are interesting, the old outhouses are interesting, the rusting hulks are interesting. I want to see how it was, not some pretty painted picture of an idyllic (SP?) mining town.

North....
LOL! That was ironically hilarious that you nailed "idyllic, and fractured some of the easier ones. It doesn't get much better'n that.
bb.

NWNative
08-21-2006, 08:48 PM
It ain't my spelling! It's this dang new keyboard. There's something wrong with it and when I type it either gives me the letter next to the one I want or doubles the letter or just decides not to add it at all. I've been dealing with this piece of $hit for so long that I have entirely given up on corrections. Half the time the correction does more harm than good.

But don't worry - the warranty department will ship a new one right away - when they come in and they remember. I'm holding my breath!

modette
08-22-2006, 06:26 AM
Depends what you mean by “Preserved”. If you mean a fence around the place, fixing it up and then charge you a fee to see it, nope I am not with that idea. At that point go ahead and knock it down.

I would like the places to stay how they are, if they fall to the time of nature that is okay. I do not feel individuals should be allowed to knock them down, and build anew on that site (plenty of other empty land still available to build on in this country). Leave the towns be…

GaryB
08-22-2006, 05:10 PM
It's a sticky issue really. Who maintains it and what are they allowed to do? Which ones do you save and what determines that?

I'm all for leaving them (most)alone and letting nature take back what is hers. Shafts can be filled for safety (especially vertical) in areas of population, but put up signs saying if you are stupid and get hurt doing something in a GT you shouldn't be, well too bad. Save the few that are pretty complete or solid enough to hold the tourists attention. Places like Berlin, Belmont (mill and town), Bodie, etc.

Owners likely need to be state parks or National Forestry as they'll keep them open to the public. ****, give me 30K a year and I'll babysit a GT in the middle of BFE for the G'men. Just let me shoot those that need shootin' ;)

LauraA
08-23-2006, 05:41 AM
Just doing a bit of bumping here to escape some foul language that somehow escaped the censor on another thread. :eek:
This thread is the kind of discussion we should be having!

Vulture
08-23-2006, 12:23 PM
[quote=GaryB;

I'm all for leaving them (most)alone and letting nature take back what is hers.[/quote]

I can agree with this. It is inevitable that these places will dissapear eventually, though it's really amazing how long adobe & raw wood can last. As much as I love historical places it's a sad fact that the most effective preservation efforts must also have the effect of removing them from their natural state.
Privately owned ghost towns are under the control of the owners to do as they choose. I have found that most are generous about visitors but this cannot be assumed.

It was policy in the 50'-70's for the forest service to demolish abandoned buildings as an expediant to assisting nature. Fortunaately this seems to no longer be practiced as a general rule.

The golden years of ghosttowning are past now. The western states have increased in population so much in 20 years that there are few places left that are too remote for quick access. With easy access comes the human impact.

just some ramblings.

Vulture

Watt Noise
08-23-2006, 12:29 PM
The main problem with any preservation is money... Unfortunately, in our country historic site preservation is the lowest on the list for public funding and has been forever... The only ones that get any protection are the National Historic Landmarks and then only those that are in the forefront get any money and recognition - DC, Gettysburg, etc... Protection of "lesser" sites is non-existent...

This is a good recent article about how well our latest national Historic Preservation Act has worked for us:

http://www.architecturemag.com/2006/08/the_preservatio.html (http://www.architecturemag.com/2006/08/the_preservatio.html)

Perhaps we could take a queue from the Europeans and "privatize" historic sites or have corporate sponsors?... Nah - we tried that - unlike the Europeans that passed laws to protect the sites from being overly exploited for the sponsors gain, we would end up with Nextel Ruby or CitiBank Jerome...

Unfortunately, public lands are left to the ineffectual protection of the first "don't ask, don't tell" law in the country called the American Antiquities Act of 1906 and the red tape burdened, bureaucracy of the Historic Preservation Act of 1960...

The only hope left is for those sites that are privately owned that might have enough left to preserve... Education of the landowner to the benefits of preserving the sites would be key... But, the only education they've had so far is that strangers tear up their land, remove items from their land, vandalize their land, and then break a leg and sue them... So, how do you get around that?... I've got a few ideas but will wait to see if anyone wants to hear it that could actually put it to real use...

Some nominations for protection or landmark status from me:

Camp Moore/Fort Mason - The first military installation in the Arizona Territory after ratification of the Gadsden Purchase making AZ and NM part of the USA... This place is in terrible shape and the city where it is located has allowed a BMX racecourse to be "constructed" on half of the site... Directly across the river is the National Landmark of San Cayetano de Calabasas - why can't the fort location be added to it?

Congress, AZ - Many people do not realize that a major portion of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders were recruited from the AZ territories and a disproportionate amount of those came from Congress, AZ... I'd have to get the list to get an exact figure, but at least 20 were inducted from this small community for the Spanish American War of 1898...

Kevin Vanderslice, Research Curator
Museum of the Horse Soldier
Tucson, Arizona

GaryB
08-23-2006, 01:15 PM
Bodie, brought to you by Pepsi.


Nah, doesn't "jingle" ;)

NWNative
08-23-2006, 03:32 PM
It's hard to blame private land owners for blocking access or taking down buildings. We are a sue-happy nation. Even if a land owner takes precautions to keep people out, if someone gets hurt they can still sue. Also, preservation takes knowledg and money. Many people are not aware of how important that old shed is to some of us. Even if they have the intrest, it can be expensive and there is no funding to help.
In the past we have joked about buying the GTs but seriously, a non-profit group that was nationwide, could provide history to land owners as well as preservation help would be great. Until we can find incentive for the land owners to keep access to a site, I am aafraid we will keep seeing them fenced off and torn down.

LauraA
08-23-2006, 05:43 PM
I've never been involved in this aspect of GTing, nor had I given it much thought except to feel a sadness when I've seen what I consider to be historic sites nearby bulldozed into oblivion.
When I did a search for "historic preservation" there were quite a few sites to check out. It looks to me like many receive some government funding, endowments, grants and private donations.
This is the most well-known one.


National Trust for Historic Preservation (http://www.nationaltrust.org/)

Watt Noise
08-23-2006, 08:31 PM
Congress, AZ - Many people do not realize that a major portion of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders were recruited from the AZ territories and a disproportionate amount of those came from Congress, AZ... I'd have to get the list to get an exact figure, but at least 20 were inducted from this small community for the Spanish American War of 1898...
Geez - I hate being wrong and having to correct myself - I guess it's better to fess up rather than be caught by someone else though... LOL

There were 2 men from Congress, AZ and 16 others that were signed up but listed from different "hometowns"... Prescott recruits were the most prolific numbers from AZ... By the numbers from most to least were NM, AZ, OK, (which were all territories at the time) and then other locations throughout the US...

Kevin

LauraA
08-24-2006, 05:06 AM
:)
Whatever the numbers, there's no getting around the fact that Teddy Roosevelt sure left a big footprint in Arizona. When he became President, he remembered Arizona and did what he could to promote Arizona's well-being in areas of conservation, preservation, water useage and probably lots more that I can't think of this early in the morning.