When it comes to historic preservation, here
are some questions to ponder. Is a building just a building? Is a location just
a location? The answer is yes when explored independently, but when society
combines the two, there is a greater issue to consider.
A current example is Bell's Store, or known today as Cherokee Market. This example merges the concept of building and location. We are currently faced with the destruction of an irreplaceable asset in Cherokee County. What does this store mean to our community?
The Buffington Community has a rich history, including some controversial aspects in Cherokee County. This particular community is associated with the beginning of the Trail of Tears in Cherokee County. In addition, it was the site of a dairy and is known for its fertile farmland.
Bell's Store is one of the only remaining historic landmarks in the Buffington Community. The current occupant of Cherokee Market has been keeping the tradition alive for many years. Cherokee Market is an exceptional fit for this historic property, and the business maintains the feel of a 1930s local market while serving the community in a unique and worthy manner.
At this moment, a development company that intends to build a gas station and convenience store at this location threatens historic Bell’s Store. The construction of this gas station will forever change the landscape of the Buffington Community and destroy a vital, historic element of Cherokee County. The primary question may be this one; is development in Cherokee County welcomed? Of course and absolutely! However, it is incumbent upon us to explore the impact to the heritage and character of our community as it develops.
For a moment, let's consider the character of a community. What makes a community special? The architecture, culture, people, and heritage are vitally important. We can build new buildings, encourage development and foster economic prosperity while maintaining our focus on community, architecture (if the developer desires) and people. However, we must consider our culture and heritage in this process. These two characteristics are instrumental in separating Cherokee County from neighboring counties and making our home special.
In order to make a community special, there has
to be a "taste of the place." What is in the dirt? What happened
here? How did these activities benefit society? What can be learned from the
history in this place?
The answers to these questions are very important to the value of our community. Families want to raise their children with a since of place that defines “home.”
I support responsible development, and it is necessary for a community to grow. However, it takes the right kind of development and appropriate controls to make this happen.
The chase of the almighty dollar can't always win when our heritage is at stake. Cherokee County does not want to be Generica, and we should fight that idea at all cost. If we plan correctly, we can prosper while keeping our heritage in tact.
Now is the time to act! We have lost many historical assets, but we have even more to save. Thanks to the recession, our timetable has slowed down, and we still have a chance to make Cherokee County prosperous while maintaining our culture and heritage.
I urge everyone to vocalize the sparing of Cherokee Market (Bell's Store) as well as other historic assets in Cherokee County. There is still time if we unite in this cause.
Cherokee County is rich in history and deserves to stay that way for many generations to come. We have an amazing culture and community, and we welcome the new development that will enhance our curb appeal. Here’s hoping we grow in a manner that brings pride of place to future generations.
I hope that all Cherokee Citizens will ask their elected officials to advocate for community preservation. The facts show that communities that preserve their history are prosperous. These communities grow in a sustainable way and successfully combine old and new. For those that have been lucky enough to visit Charleston and Savannah, we realize the implications preservation has on communities. Cherokee County has similar assets, especially downtown Canton, Ball Ground, and Woodstock.
Therefore, I conclude that a building is not just a structure, and a location is not just a place. Both of these ingredients combined can create heritage and culture. I would love to see Cherokee County grow and prosper while maintaining these essential elements. Please help save all of our historical assets in Cherokee County. The future depends on it.