December 2, 2002
Historic buildings are a reminder of a less hectic lifestyle
I am writing in support of remaking the Thayer barn into a community center. Duvall will need more community meeting places as a result of its continuing growth. But the usefulness of the building as a community gathering place is only one of many reasons the city should undertake the renovation and relocation of the historic barn.
The citizens of Duvall are lucky that "progress" has not yet steamrolled all of the lovely marks of our agrarian heritage in and around the town. These buildings and sites remind us of a less hectic lifestyle when the people of Duvall had the time to stop and say hello, nurturing the neighborly relationships they depended on. These buildings remind us of the hard work it takes to survive as a farming family; old and well-built dairy barns are the essence of beauty in functionality. People are on the move more now and they still work hard, but don't we welcome reminders to slow down a bit, enjoy the scenery and talk to our neighbors? These historic buildings, these markers of a pace of life less harried, are our reminders to consider what passes and what perseveres. The jobs and the proverbial hairstyles have changed, but a community of friends and neighbors will always be valuable.
How does a city maintain (or build) a sense of community among its populace? It preserves and nurtures in the public eye those things that give shared identity to a diverse group. The one thing that we all share living in Duvall is that we make our homes in farm country.
The city has the choice to capitalize on what differentiates Duvall from all the other McSuburbs out there or to lose its unique features and become a part of the great mass of facelessness. Saving structures like the Thayer barn gives the city of Duvall a sense of place and history, an identity all its own when other towns become less and less distinguishable from one another.
That shared sense of identity is what motivates people to pitch in when disaster strikes, to support each other and celebrate together, to stop in the middle of a hurried day to say hello to the neighbor across the street and allow an opportunity for friendship to grow. The effect the barn and other historic buildings have on the community of Duvall is more important than the barn itself. There will always be opportunities to build new improvements to the city. It is the old improvements that are few and far between.
Claire Foster, Carnation/Duvall