Sometimes the choices made in historic preservation efforts aren’t always clear-cut. Increasingly, there is debate over what is worthy of preservation and what is not. Many years ago I photographed this vibrant 1960’s-vintage metal facade which spanned across two adjacent storefronts in Hays, Kansas. At the time, I admired it for its classic aqua panels, quirky lines, and just the fact that it made me smile. It’s fun! And, as one of a handful of facades with a strong presence on the street, it was memorable.
Then, several years later, there was a push to “restore” and “revitalize” the immediate downtown area. The master plan called for the removal of this particular facade. Much history was lost in the redevelopment process; should this facade be counted among the losses? Or do you feel that the two early 20th-century facades (both needing restoration) which were revealed are the stronger asset? Take a look at the Before and After images below: