Published 6:12 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
I’m concerned about the future of the old Pierceville house and farm buildings in Smithfield. The potential loss of this rare treasure is heartbreaking.
My wife and I are new to Smithfield, but we’ve fallen deeply in love with this town, its people and its character. Smithfield is a special place, but it will be less so if we allow Pierceville to be lost.
We live in an old house, so I know how challenging preservation and restoration can be. But I also know that these old buildings (especially brick ones) are surprisingly resilient and can bounce back from near complete ruin with dedication and hard work.
It’s easy to take the path of least resistance when it comes to old places, especially when it may be profitable to tear one down and build something new in its place. “We can’t save every old house,” people say. But we’re not talking about every old house; we’re talking about this specific place: Pierceville.
This isn’t a philosophical debate about preservation versus progress. This is about saving a historically significant piece of Smithfield. Pierceville matters. It’s worth the effort, the headache and the investment. I’m certainly ready to get to work and will enthusiastically volunteer my time and effort to this cause (and I know several others who would do the same). Investing in Pierceville is investing in Smithfield.
With the pending sale of the property to Mr. Luter comes both opportunity and risk. The risk is demolition and redevelopment. The opportunity is saving and restoring a part of American history.
I’m not arguing against sensitive redevelopment of part of the site (though other town residents have raised objections to this before). I’m arguing that we will lose part of our town’s soul if we destroy Pierceville. Anyone with deep roots in this community should feel this, whether their family arrived here in the 1600s, the 1700s or in 2020 (like my wife and me).
Pierceville is part of our heritage and will be part of our legacy. Let’s ensure we leave the right legacy.
Nicholas A. Blevins