They don’t build ’em like that anymore.
Sam Kaye, AIA and Director of Design Services for Mississippi Main Street, says that Water Valley contains a collection of “architectural gems.” He’s absolutely right. Just take a look around and you’ll see wonderful examples of a variety of styles.
Why preserve old buildings? To begin with, we preserve them simply because they’re attractive. Author Judith Waldhorn called them, “a gift to the street” – a gift of beauty, variety and detail.
Countless reuse projects have shown that old buildings can be utilized in a variety of ways their original builders never imagined. Examples of what’s called “adaptive use” are everywhere in Water Valley.
The Illinois Central depot is now the Casey Jones Railroad Museum. Shaw Foundry became Hendrick’s Machine Shop and in turn has become Grand Central Station Antiques. The building that will be the Water Valley Main Street Association office was once a bank and for years operated as City Hall.
Think of it as the Ultimate Recycling. It can be good for the pocketbook too, since reusing an old building means avoiding the expense of demolition and saving materials and craftsmanship that are costly, or even impossible, to replace.
Finally, some buildings are important because they’re a part of what makes us who we are. It doesn’t have to be Mount Vernon to be worth saving. It can be the house where our grandparents lived, the drugstore where we gathered after school, or the church where we married.
That’s what historic preservation is really all about.
It’s about keeping what’s important.