As a history buff from Massachusetts, the New England Coastline is one of the most historically rich regions in the country. After all, it was among the first settlements, and played a huge part in making America what it is today. Many buildings remain that are hundreds of years old, serving as a reminder of our rich past. That’s why real estate development can be an extra sensitive topic in these parts. I feel it’s important for historic areas like ours to work with developers who have a healthy respect for our history, a keen eye toward restoration, and the vision to meld the past with the present and the future.
Anywhere you go along the New England Coastline, you’ll see old buildings that have rich stories behind them. Whether it’s in the form of old lighthouses, 300 year old colonial houses, or old inns and restaurants that are still thriving businesses today, history is right in front of us around nearly every bend in New England. That’s just a part of the charm here, the reason our small towns have so much character, and part of the reason tourists come from all over to visit – not just to see the beautiful wilderness, beaches, and buildings, but to connect it with the stories of our past that we all grew up with – the stories of the Pilgrams, the Mayflower, the first thanksgiving, the founding fathers, Paul Revere and his ride through Lexington, Ben Franklin and all his experiments, setting the ideal of the quintessintial American who can overcome anything through hard work and ingenuity. In its rich history, Eastern Massachusetts holds the revolutionary fervor that had men throwing tea off of boats, the spirit that ultimately made America the nation it is today. All this is a part of the rich history of eastern Massachusetts. Many of the buildings around here hold this history in their walls – quite literally – many of the old buildings have been adorned with plaques from the historic preservation society, plaques that describe the history of the building, who lived there in the past and what they did. In my own home town of New Bedford Mass, you can see remnants of our whaling past everywhere you go, including the Candleworks building, which brought great wealth to the area in its hey day. It’s all a part of what makes Eastern Massachusetts so interesting, especially to a history buff like myself.
Because of the sensitive historic nature of our region , we need real estate developers who share our communities’ sense of respect and reverence for our historical past and the many buildings that remain from it. Andy Rockett, a history buff who recently purchased the hisoric Candleworks building, is definitely one that fits this mold. He seems to have struck the right balance between keeping the building in a useable state of upkeep without tarnishing its historic charm.
After all, Life must go on, people will live and shop and eat, and so it only makes sense to have our ancient buildings adapted and restored and refurbished to serve our modern lives. Whether they’re converted to restaurants, offices, shops or apartments, the buildings will always maintain some of their original character – how well this is done depends on the skill of the developer. Personally, I’m all for keeping our rich history and still having it be used – we can’t turn the whole world into a museum! In any case, I’d prefer retrofitted old buildings with all their charm to a bunch of strip malls. From surfing the web and finding Mr. Rockett’s personal site, www.andyrockett.com, I was pleased to learn that he’s also a fan of our regions history. I feel like this is an important factors for our communities to consider when choosing developors for historically sensitive areas, such as downtown New Bedford.