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2005-10-21
Streetsboro, OH. Wal-Mart Goes After Another Historic Home

Wal-Mart seems to have a special affinity for historic places. They like to tear them down. Latest case in point comes from Streetsboro, Ohio, where some residents are trying to save an historic home that Wal-Mart wants -- not by moving Wal-Mart -- but by moving the house. According to the Beacon Journal newspaper, the so-called Singletary House, a 177 year old historic property, is slated to become just another featureless Wal-Mart superstore box. The house was constructed by the parents of Akron, Ohio's second Mayor. The home has been moved once to its current site, and now, to survive, it must be sold and moved a second time, to make room for Wal-Mart. Streetsboro's Planning Director wants to see the home moved -- but apparently is not questioning the premise in the first place that Wal-Mart must move in. The Federal-style house was built in 1828 by Col. John Curtis Singletary. According to the newspaper, the building was at one point a tavern and stagecoach stop, and later became Streetsboro's first post office. The arched front doorway of the home is even featured on the city's official seal. In 1971, the house was slated to be razed for a chain restaurant, but the restaurant gave the house away on the condition that the 70 ton home had to be moved. Singletary House was transported less than two miles away to its new location. But the family that moved the home, decided in 1999 to sell their surrounding property to a mall developer. `"As far as the family is concerned," the present owner told the Beacon, "we saved it once. Someone else can save it." The mall project never happened, but now Wal-Mart is knocking on the home's front door. This January, the city's Planning Commission will take up the Wal-Mart proposal. Some civic leaders want to move the home and convert it into the Streetsboro Area Chamber of Commerce and the Streetsboro Visitors and Convention Bureau. They have formed The committee to save the Singletary House, and are looking for benefactors.

What you can do: How pathetic that Streetsboro thinks that special places should be moved to make way for a Wal-Mart. And how pathetic that city officials have not insisted that Wal-Mart first pay for the relocation of this historic building, before granting them their superstore. They should make relocation a condition of the deal. Wal-Mart has the financial means to move the Singletary House -- but if local officials don't insist on it, it won't happen. The simplest way to protect the property, however, is to ask Wal-Mart to find another location. History should not be moved for Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart should be moved for history. For other recent examples of big box encroachment on historic places, search Newsflash by "historic".










 
 
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