Monday, April 30, 2018

Saving an Iconic Building. Why places matter: BK East

Small town are unique places. This is why people want to live there. They have memories there too which is why, maybe more than the fact its historic eligible, people want to save this.

Most small towns had "that place". The place where people went  to hang out,  a place that was maybe their first job, maybe their first date, or first kiss. A place where you would load the kids in the car and go to. The drive in restaurant.

The drive in was a product of the post WW2 era. Our highways were expanding and towns were getting closer together. In Logansport that place was BK East. In most cities and towns those iconic places where the community gathered are long gone. Bulldozed, and only a part of a rapidly diminishing collective memory. For Logansport, that place still stands , but perhaps not for long.

The owners want to sell and apparently there is no one to pass the business on to. So it, a house and some lots they own next to it are for sale. the asking price was over 400,000 dollars.

Apparently they have a buyer . Burger King. Burger King is not an iconic place the community gathers, its a place we speed through on our way home or rush into on a short lunch to get something that resembles food. It is not BK East and its not part of a collective memory.
 Burger King won't preserve it, but rather will Bulldoze it and a 1900 era house next too it and build their usual bland chain restaurant on the site.

Now I can bore you with all the reasons the property is historically significant. "Rare example of a Mid century roadside drive in restaurant", sits in the Riverside Historic District and is a "contributing structure" and eligible for individual nomination  based on architecture" but to the people who grew up in this small town, those things are unimportant. It is, and unless the community shows up at the May 21st zoning meeting, WAS, a place that the community gathered and made memories.

It is just one of those things that make this community special, and since Logansport Landmarks announced its immediate peril and hastily elevated it to number 1 position on the Logansport Landmarks most endangered list for 2018, the community outrage is both mighty and deep. Their Facebook page was flooded with views. Over 24,000 in a little over 12 hours, the announcement was shared by over 300 and shared again and again.  For a community that has stood by for far to long and ignored their history, the thought of this loss, may be the final straw. It's too important to them. People who worked there, people who played there , people for whom the memories are too deep and too personal may not stand by and let this pass by the wayside. The people of Logansport are about to fight a big corporate, unthinking, uncaring, chain restaurant to preserve their history. BK East is not about to fade into history without a MAJOR fight.

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