Two stories that appeared in the Observer-Reporter last week were particularly troubling to me: the relocation of the Adios statue and the demolition of the Parkinson family homestead in Morris Township. Two very different scenarios but with one very strong common factor – the destruction of our local history.
The Adios statue, thankfully, will not become a lawn ornament for some wealthy entrepreneur or melted down for its valuable bronze, but its impact is undeniably diminished because you no longer see it when you drive on Racetrack Road. Adios, and the accompanying plaque of his owner, Delvin Miller, together were a memorial to a beautiful story of success and worldwide fame for a local farm boy and a once-in-a-lifetime horse. I am offended on so many fronts. I knew Delvin personally, have horses, am an artist and enjoy the study of history, but more than that, I always loved looking at that spot – so beautifully planted with flowers, a resting spot for your eyes amidst the hectic mish-mash of businesses and traffic. Sheetz will NEVER be able to compete with that.
The story of the Parkinson farm, a historical landmark, is sickening. It was a beautiful piece of our Western Pennsylvania architectural history and is now destroyed, gone. It was a testament to a former time, when the family farm and hard work was the backbone of our agricultural society. It also was a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the people who hand-built the structure. How many homes built today will be standing 200 years from now? Probably none.
In both cases, the theme is the same. People who didn’t care sold property to other people who didn’t care. Adios was shoved out because he was an obstacle in the way of the development of valuable commercial frontage. The Parkinson homestead, destroyed because it interfered somehow with the mineral development of the property. Thoughtless outsiders taking something from us that can never be replaced, our history and our heritage, as greed begets greed. Sad.