Friday, April 18, 2008

Rape and Pillage, Part II

Well, gentle reader, it's now official: cultural vandals Rene and Marie-France Kern will be demolishing the historic McCutcheon/Malley house at 36 Mayo Avenue that has guarded the entrance to Belle Haven since 1888. One of the few remaining Richardsonian-Romanesque houses in America is slated to be reduced to a heap of rubble and carted off into history. Soon, no doubt, we will be treated to an ugly McMansion as soulless as the people who have wrought this vandalism.

A last-ditch effort by preservationist William Schneider has fallen short. "We have to give up on it, unfortunately," he is quoted as saying. And so another icon of Greenwich history bites the dust.

Vandal Marie-France Kern is reported to have said, "It's a private matter and it should stay private." Yeah, right, Marie-France, you bet, sure thing. That's like telling the peasants starving for bread to eat cake. What is it with Frenchwomen that makes them always seem to miss the point?

No, Marie-France, it is not a private matter, and it should not be treated as such. You are destroying part of our Town's heritage, and it is the business of every citizen of Greenwich. Shame on you, and shame on Rene. You will be gone in a few years, but the devastation you will have wreaked will be irreversible.

A private matter indeed! When the first wrecking ball hits those granite stones, the curse of the McCutcheons will fall on you and your hired minions. The ghosts of generations of the Malley family will haunt you. Your sleep in your wretched new McMansion will be unquiet. Eventually you will leave town, perhaps to return to France, where you can boast of your exploits of destruction. After all, you will say, the house was only 120 years old - a mere bagatelle compared to the Louvre or Notre Dame. And of course, you will add, the people who built it and lived in it were only Americans.

As you mete, so shall it be measured to you again, says the Bible. Karma will ensure that, as it always has. And you have stirred up enough bad karma to last for, well, at least 120 years. What is it the Bible says about sins being visited to the third and the fourth generation? 120 years sounds just about right for that.

Some of you may think, dear readers, that your scribe is verging towards bitterness. Not at all - heaven forfend. He is merely stating facts.

Have a nice life, Marie-France and Rene. See, gentle reader? No bitterness here.


Blogger steve said...

Visit the Art Institute of Chicago and you'll see a beautiful stained-glass window designed by Marion Mahony, one of the first women to get a degree in architecture from MIT. It's from a house in Elkhart, IN, which she redesigned in the Prairie Style. It was torn down for a rather ordinary block of condos.

If you ever have a chance, read Jack Finney's short story, "I Love Galesburg in the Springtime."

Sorry about this travesty.

April 20, 2008 2:54 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Bill, good link to Yale Brit Collection - impressive.

One of the professional oil painters at Tomato Can Brushes (blog name) from New England said recently that a local house where Hopper had lived for a time was suffering a similar fate.

The NT over here would have snapped that up. The problem here tends to be the ramifications of preservation orders rather than the lack of them.

Thanks for those links - interesting stuff.

April 20, 2008 3:54 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, Steve!

Thanks for your comment. I'll take your recommendation on the Finney story - always looking for a good read!

April 21, 2008 11:41 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, Julie!

Yes, we need something like the National Trust in this country. Actually, we do have the National Trust for Historic Preservation, but it only has about 30 properties, most of which have a direct connection to American history. Not nearly big enough for the job at hand, IMO.

April 21, 2008 11:49 AM  
Blogger Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Bill - just picked up your comments, and thanks, will definitely look out the London Mellon branch as soon as it is practical. Sounds like it will would make a good post.

April 21, 2008 1:03 PM  
Blogger Leigh Russell said...

Rape and Pillage!! and it's part II!!! Now that's what I call gossip, Bill.

April 22, 2008 9:31 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Leigh: :-)

April 22, 2008 11:15 AM  
Blogger Malicious Intent said...

I so hate hearing the destruction of our history for the greed of others. It always makes me so said. I love historical places, you walk into them and you can just FEEL it. You know you are standing somwhere with signifant history and probably some company.

You are right, they may tear down the building, but the residents won't leave, they will stay and make the presense noticed. Moving their shit around really pisses them off!

Thanks for the donation, thank you very much!

April 23, 2008 11:52 AM  
Blogger Malicious Intent said...

I left a comment earlier here today. Did it just poof?

April 23, 2008 8:09 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, M. I.!

No, it did not go poof - I just didn't get around to visiting my own blog yesterday afternoon.

As you may be aware, I've had to enable comment moderation on this blog. At one point the nutty ex-wife's even nuttier ex-lawyer started leaving obscene comments, and I felt the blogosphere was better off not having to put up with his poison. From what little you've said of your ex, I suspect you can probably empathize!

April 24, 2008 11:45 AM  

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