Buildings into parking lots, parking lots into buildings

A few years ago I wrote that in a bizarre dream (the sleeping kind), I was turning an old abandoned building into a haunted house for Halloween. I did not at that time reveal which building it was. That building was none other than the Silver Horseshoe Bar.

It goes to show that sometimes, thankfully, dreams really don’t come true.

It was an interesting looking old building, a piece of history. It would be nice to have restored it, and while a haunted house would have fit the bill before it came down, a bar and grill would have been a better fit. But considering what was its current shape, I think the hole in the ground looks better. It will look even better as a parking lot. It would have taken more truckloads of money to restore that building than the truckloads of debris that were hauled to the dump after it came down.

It’s hard to see the skyline around you change, even if in the long run it will be better. I’ve heard plenty of complaints  when a building becomes a parking lot, but even more complaints when parking lots become buildings. Where will people park? everyone asks.

I spent most of my growing up years in Ogden, UT. I drove through there fairly recently. The main drag, Washington Boulevard, looks nearly the same as when we left 19 years ago, only instead of bars and restaurants, the buildings are empty and look better suited to haunted houses themselves. That is, until you reach the old, grand mall, which is gone. In its place are a plethora of neat looking buildings, whose main pull seems to be indoor sky diving. If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.

However, the second most busy street, Harrison Boulevard, is nearly unrecognizable to me. Other than the college, most of the buildings seem to have been torn down and built again, including the hospital where my sister was born. It’s a parking lot too. The old parking lot is the new hospital.

I have the same sense of disorientation when I drive past our old house and up to my old elementary school. It’s gone. It’s now a playground for the new school, which looks more like a factory than an elementary school. The church I went to as a child, which was right next to the school, is gone too. Their asbestos soaked walls only exist in my memory.

I guess the moral is that if faced with economic uncertainty, build a parking lot. The buildings will soon follow.

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