18 August 2005

York House

An artist sits on the steps on my artment building, sketchbook open on his lap. Yesterday, a different one sat all afternoon on George St sidewalk, sketching York House. Day before that he sat all day on York Street sidewalk in front of the gingerbread-trim house, sketching York House. Last week, someone guerillaed a "Save York House" sign on orange bristol board overtop of one of the "Brunswick St Family Counselling Centre" signs on the building.

York House, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. June 2005. Photo by Joe Blades
So what's with all the fuss?

The church foundation that owns York House has announced that they want to tear down the building and then erect a larger, modern building on the same site beside the Brunswick Street Baptist Church. They own the building, use the building, but have not undertaken proper maintenance and upkeep. Now the building needs work. Work the owners have said they'd rather not do.

This is the dilemma of heritage: how to preserve, even use, the past in a manner relevant to the present and future. York House used to be Fredericton High School, a Baptist Seminary, used to house an international youth hostel and much more. Architecturally, it's an interesting building. I love the brick and sandstone details, the sunflower lightning rods, the comfortable feel of this old school settled into downtown Fredericton. York House sits across the street from my front window (The above photo was taken through that window).

Fredericton Heritage Trust has stepped into the picture. There are citizens collecting signatures on "Save York House" petitions but, to the best of my sometimes faulty knowledge, don't think they have an online presence for collecting signatures. There are artists and other people talking about, possibly even planning, fundraisers but I'm detail-free.

Blessed be.

Shirt: still wrinkled, fated lavender.
loc: Fredscene
temp: 16 C
sound NIN pretty hate machine

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