Friday, May 17, 2013

Parker's Ballroom Update

Back in November 2012, the much beloved and historic music venue Parker's Ballroom in Shoreline, Washington was demolished without much public comment or notice.

I reported the reason this one-of-a-kind music gem seven miles north of Seattle was torn down was so the owner could store used cars on the site.

I was wrong.  After visiting the site again I can say the owner is storing new trucks there.

Here is the site of Parker's Ballroom today.











The idea one of the most important music venues in the United States would be torn down after eighty years for this reason is cruel.  The sad truth is Shoreline, Washington is filled with nothing but empty lots and abandoned stores.  For example, I have never seen more derelict restaurants in one place than in Shoreline, or what the local residents and Seattle natives call BORE-line.

All of these abandoned restaurants are within one mile of the Parker's Ballroom site.







It is like everyone in the city ate out every night of the week and then they all instantly stopped.

If someone needed to store trucks, wouldn't any of these sites be cheaper and more suited?  Tearing these decaying eyesores down is a public service, not a public crime.

The reality is all buildings, even historic ones, outlive their usefulness.  But the goal should be to save historic properties at all costs, not demolish them at first glance.  Parker's Ballroom was irreplaceable in the world of music and especially to the people of Shoreline where generations of residents lived their youth and often met their mates.  The sadness of so many people over of all things an old building shows how wrong this teardown actually was.

Rich people who own historic buildings need to realize they share a stake in their future.  Ownership extends to the history of the site, not just to the land under the building where all the action took place.

Historic buildings are money pits, yes.

But they are HISTORIC.  I would suggest wealthy people who buy such properties regard them as such, treating the memories of the structure with the same reverence as what could, in theory, be built on the site.  Is real estate just about profit?  What about the prestige of historic preservation and unique property ownership?

Did one of the most famous and beloved music venues in the United States, one with a sixty year history of welcoming the greatest acts in music, have to die to park trucks?

REALLY?