Home Money Opinion: Destruction of BellaVino hurts Athens and Ohio University

Opinion: Destruction of BellaVino hurts Athens and Ohio University

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Athens is special. It is unique. It takes on a life of its own, so long as we allow it.

Recently, a historic building on West Stimson Avenue was demolished. The building was torn down Jan. 4th. Ric Wasserman purchased the building from Lili Chandler Glover last February and decided to demolish the building in order to build a modern apartment building. The structure was most recently known as the BellaVino, but to many Athens residents it is known as the mule barn.

Located at 22 W. Stimson Ave., this historic building served as a stable for the Athens Brick Company. Housing the mules which carried bricks, the building was central to the company. It was built in the early 1900’s, fully equipped with two stories. The bottom floor was filled with animals to help the town to function, and the top floor held piles of hay to keep the animals healthy and fed. It was built with bricks made on sight, with each wall four bricks thick. The building would have easily stood for another 400 years.

One of the greatest, if not the greatest, aspects of Ohio University is the fact that it’s in Athens. Athens is special; from the small businesses lining Court Street to policemen trotting by on horses, to the bricks paving our streets. The town has a feeling of its own, and it is a feeling that should be preserved.

Preserving historic buildings would also be in the university’s best interest. The university tries extensively to get students’ attention, to get students’ to come here and to get students to fall madly in love with everything they see. And what do they see when they arrive? Prospective students look out of their car windows and see buildings from the 1800’s still standing strong. They walk on bricks made over a hundred years ago and see students smiling and laughing together. They see a community.

If we allow historic buildings to be demolished then we are allowing pieces of Athens’ culture to be demolished. Those pieces will be gone forever; we cannot recreate a century old building. The buildings and the history in Athens gives it something special that we can all appreciate. Something which brings us together. If we want to preserve our sense of community, we have to preserve our history. To do that, we must protect our historic sites. For the university and the town’s sake, this is something we must all come together to fix.

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