The phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" obviously applies to historical preservation, especially in regard to the preservation of the Graves House in Old Town Bluffton.
Sadly, I have personally witnessed the destruction of historical landmarks in other communities, by those in power, whose reasons included "urban renewal," time and cost factors and "I just don't give a damn."
I agree that preservation is costly, but how many bids were actually submitted to come up with the total cost of preservation? The point is not to turn it into a five-star hotel, but rather to preserve it structurally and prevent future deterioration. Are there grants available that could offset these costs? What about incorporating reclaimed lumber to keep the costs down, while maintaining the Graves House integrity instead of demolition?
Hilton Head Island has become famous as a resort area, which indeed is its main economy, but at the high cost of losing many of its historical (especially Gullah) landmarks. I do not live in Bluffton, but what partly drew me to move to this area was the beauty, charm and quirkiness of Bluffton's historic district.
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Let's not make the costly mistake of being so focused entirely on new growth and development that we obliterate our past in the process. A community consists not only of its future, but also its roots and past. By preserving our historical landmarks, we will leave "footprints" for future generations to embrace, far after we are gone.
Hilton Head Island