Sam Burnham, Curator
We've gotten word from our friend at Vanishing South Georgia that the Irwinville Hotel in Irwin County has been demolished to make way for a new Dollar General store. The wood framed structure was constructed in the mid-1880's and is another in a series of losses in the small South Georgia town. The building had reportedly been used for many years as a residential rental property and had seen numerous interior renovations and changes. In a small town with few historic structures remaining, any such loss is a big one.
Brian at VSG and I agree that saving these historic structures is not the job of the government with regulation or actions that supersede the rights of property owners. The former owner of this structure has the legal and moral right to sell the property to anyone he chooses. In turn, the new owner has the same right to demolish the structure and replace it with something of their choosing. including a chain discount store with a saturated market.
The job of saving our history is ours. It's our job to explain why these places matter. It's our job to offer new and helpful methods for property owners to maintain such structures. It's our job to foster a society that loves and appreciates the past and wants to preserve it. We need to form a culture that cherishes these treasures. We should save our past because it is important to us - more important to us than profit. We have to love our places and encourage others to do so as well.
This one is gone. It's lost forever. But there are still more that are in danger but can be saved and are worth saving. They may be in your town. They may be in earshot of your voice. How you speak or act in their favor could make a difference in their survival, Let's foster a love of our past and try to save the next one.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire