Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Demolition of Dunn House




The top photo, dated April 2009, is of the Dunn House, built by the Grayot family about 1867, in Smithland, Kentucky. This home, which has stood empty for about 20 years, was demolished today, leaving one less landmark in this very old, historic town. The new Livingston County office building is to be built on this spot.

Copyright on photographs and text
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog
http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah! the winds of progress?

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

So we are led to believe.

villette1 said...

I am angered by this. The Dunn house could easily have been saved by the current fiscal court if they had wanted to. The courthouse is already built. What are they going to put in? A driveway?

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

I was told that a new 3-story building will house a county clerk's office and a county library will be in the basement. Currently, the county clerk's office is in the old courthouse. A public library is badly needed as there is none now. Whether we agree or disagree on what happened to the Dunn house isn't important now. There are other historic buildings and homes in Smithland and there needs to be an organized effort to preserve them so this does not happen again.

Denise said...

Amen.

villette1 said...

Sorry if I sounded so angry. I am a native of Livingston County and growing up I really loved all of our old buildings and such. In general, I have an affinity for things. I do not doubt that we need a library and the clerk needs an office. The space they are in now is so very small. But I do question the foresight and planning and if more could not have been done to preserve the building. Do you know what efforts are being made to preserve other buildings in the area? The Gower House and the old Methodist church come to mind.

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

Would you contact me by email at bjjerome@wowway.com

John D said...

This was my great grandfather's home and was known as over home by the Aunts and Uncles. I am glad that none of them are alive to see this happen.
My grandparent's home was torn down earlier for the new court house addition and now this, It is very sad. I appreciate Don Hodge for sending me the inteior pictures taken before the distruction.

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

John D., would you contact me at bjjerome@wowway.com please?

texaswillie said...

villette1---- your comments are well taken. It is sad to see the destruction that has taken place in Smithland over the past 5 decades. So many of those buildings could have been preserved. I always check on the Grower House every time I go through Smithland. The Massey House also comes to mind.What a sad day that was when it burned. The I look at what has happened in Paducah and I see much of the same destruction over the past several years. While government buildings may be needed, certainly not at the expense of our historical structures. Marion did the same thing when they went to build a fire station.Since I am from Crittenden County and was raised in McCracken Couty. Libraries are becoming a thing of the past throughout the United States. Children seldom use them and in the case in the city where I live the libraries will more than likely be closed rather than open when one visits. A library for Livingston County could have been built in dozens of more suitable places and as for the county clerk’s office that too could have been built elsewhere. There appears to me an “immediacy” to tear down historical structures so that “free money” can be obtained quickly from the Federal and state government to build these local government buildings. While they are nice to have, they add nothing to the tax base for the county, and seldom add any jobs and cost a ton to operate.

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

texaswillie - Thank you for your comments on this most controversial subject. The atmosphere in Smithland has changed somewhat since the Dunn house was demolished. There is an organized effort to preserve the old buildings and, in fact, the old county courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in late 2011. Articles are being published and people are talking about historic preservation like no other time in the county's history.

I live near Evansville and libraries are far from dead in this area. They are thriving, active places where people not only check out books and films, but also attend classes and lectures on a wide variety of subjects. It is sad when libraries do not change to meet the current demands of a changing society.

texaswillie said...

Brenda---Thanks for the e-mail. I am originally from Marion however grew up in Paducah. Many years ago I was ask my an investor to see if I could buy the Gower House. I called the owner in Paducah and she said she was not interested in seellign. In later years the house was sold and the owners did a little work however nothing significant. My father was supervisor for the Red Front and my uncle was the butcher at that store when the buildings were torn down in marion for construction of the new fire station. Tax money was lost on four buildings as the fire station would not produce any taxes. The buildings could have been restored at one of the meetings of the genealogy society I noted no young people attend---they were of the older generation like me. It was the younger generation that wanted to see "progress" with new buildings. Sorry to see this. Again thanks for the e-mail.

As for our libraries here in Dallas some are open only part time. It is one of the things those that cut budgets seem to target. They contend the reason is that schools mostly use the internet and electronics and thus the need is minimal. My son manages a text book store for a major university distributor and they now rent more books than they sell, thus text books seem to have a limited life in many of the larger schools and libraries cocntineu the shrink.

I wish the folks in Smithland continue success in their efforts to preserve a little part of history.

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

If you will email me at bjjerome@wowway.com, I would like to ask you a question. Thanks.