Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bringing down the ark

Tomorrow is the end of an era in St Charles. They are finally tearing down Noah's Ark. That place was magical, even from the outside when I was a kid.
Now it is a falling down ghost ship. It all makes me quite sad. Every other day around here they are tearing down beautiful old single family homes to build hundreds of condos on that one piece of land. Every last piece of green empty space is being swallowed up to build mini malls that sit empty for years on end. (After all, how many dry cleaners can one smallish town need?) I once did the find a store thing at walmart.com and discovered that we have TWENTY Wal-Marts within 30 miles of our house*. That says a lot.
And today Jack and I went paid our last respects to the old boat, which will be replaced by an aquatic center. If you look closely in that first picture you can see the absolute atrocity of a hotel that is replacing our riverfront. It won't be very long before this is no longer the place that I grew up in. (Well, in all honesty it is barely a shell of that place right now. This was farm country when I was a kid. I can still remember when we got a post office.)
I remember on my first visit to England that I was amazed at how much history you could walk down the street and touch. And while they have a longer history as a country than we as Americans do, they also seem to have a healthier respect for preservation. At least more than we do west of St. Louis. Sure that ark was only 40 + years old, but everything was only 40+ years old at one time, right?
I can't help but wonder what Jack's world will look like in 40 years. How far will he have to drive to see a cow? (We already have to drive at least 30 minutes.) Will he know how tall the corn is by the 4th of July? Will any of his childhood landmarks still be around?

Interesting food for thought.

You can read a more fact filled blog post on the Ark here. And I will upload more photos to Flickr. Dana might need to say goodbye to it too.

*I think there are 16 Targets in that same radius.

18 comments:

  1. ohh, I feel your pain. I hate seeing old things get torn down. They are building conds everywhere around here. I mean everywhere. All the businesses here are almost all chains. We hardly have any mom and pop stores and it makes me so sad :(

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  2. Right now they are taking trees out in my town. Big huge beautiful old, old, OLD trees. Then they put a little Bradford Pear in it's place. You just can't DO that! I try to show my son historical things in our area too, because they just might not always be here. They'll keep the true historical things like the Battlefield and such, but what about the old stockyards and the fair grounds and the grain silo that is right smack dab in the middle of town now. It makes me very sad, indeed. Jack is a lucky boy to see the world through his Mama's eyes!

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  3. When Ingrid and I were there, we were at the Embassy Suites, and I was mapping out stuff to do on google earth, and got way excited about the pin for "Noah's Ark," and then really sad when I realized it was closed and going to be torn down. We drove by a few times (played in the park just up the road/visible on google earth from there) and it definitely seemed to be the last bastion of pre-casino/development of that area.

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  4. That's sad, losing your history little bits at a time. I did a Walmart search, and we only have five within 30 miles, but that is probably five too many...

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  5. oh my word!!! One of my high school dances was there! How sad. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. It's sad to hear about things like this. We are new to our town, so I don't know much about how they are treating the old things. There are still a lot of old homes and it seems as though they are trying to revive downtown without changing it's face too much. Hopefully my perceptions are correct and some things around here will be preserved.

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  7. Sarah M.5:58 PM

    I struggle with things like this on a regular basis-- not as monumental as this, but just as hard to stomach being an urban planner. I just don't understand people's values anymore (or should I say SOME people's values). Here it is CVS, Walgreen's, and Rite Aids cropping up like weeds. How cool that place looked!! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. That is a cool Ark.

    There is so much growth in our area that it is not the same place I grew up. Very sad. I wonder, too, what my children's lives will be like when they are older.

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  9. It's so sad to see things like this taken down. There was a similar place, Mother Goose themed, though. in the town where my grandparents lived that evoked the same nostalgia in me. Now - there is a Hardee's...

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  10. Target Shmarget. I know what you mean/feel. We're back in the land I was pretty much raised in and I so miss some of my favorite haunts I lived alot of my childhood in. It's such a bummer. sigh

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  11. Its always hard to experience change. Especially if its something you remember so fondly that you want to share with the next generation.

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  12. Ohh this burns my biscuits !!! Clarice

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  13. Thank you for posting this. Every summer when I was a kid we stayed at Noah's Ark and went to Six Flags. I was so sad a few years ago when I drove by and saw it was abandoned.

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  14. That's so sad Sarah. And it drives me crazy that we do that all the time. In our area, the big thing (besides my idjit neighbors who took out most of their trees) is to tear down old schools and build new ones. They think schools built in the 60's are old. But, you know, "they" think money grows on trees in America, so why not? Maybe Jack's generation will learn to appreciate the old and work harder on preservation.

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  15. Oh, your little Jack is a cutie.

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  16. That is a lot of walmarts! I hate when old buildings and such get torn down and uglier new ones get put up. Although where we live it is probably good, since they don't seem to know how to keep things pretty over time (and at least that way things stay somewhat pretty).

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  17. Ooooh what a sad moment! And it's such a neat old thing. Of course, my son thinks old things are just old. To me, they're treasures. Blessings... POlly

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  18. I hate that casino/hotel. We used to live in the apartments that are right in front of it (the ones with the red roofs). When we moved in we had a gorgeous view of the riverfront. Then the casino came. It wasn't so bad, at first, when it was just a riverboat. But then it kept growing and growing and growing. I hate it.

    I'll miss Noah's Ark too. We stayed there when we moved here (I was 10). I thought the fact that the Do Not Disturb signs were monkeys that hung by their tails was the cleverest thing ever.

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Hi there. What say you?