Here's Charles Ives' take on the holiday, circa 1912. If you don't know Ives' music, it's a jumble, sometimes discordant. In a wonderful review last month, Jeremy Denk calls him "the crazy and brilliant patriarch of American music, [one who] loved a good cacophony." He was a real "American Maverick" and, musically anyway, not appreciated during his life.
Ives is increasingly interesting here because he was composing during the streetcar era, that period from 1880 to 1920 or thereabouts when we probably reached peak mobility: People regularly traveled by foot, horse, wagon, bike, streetcar, automobile, rail, early air craft. Sure, petroleum-based fuels later let us go farther and faster, but we might have had the greatest range of mobility choice in this period.
There was a real transportation ecosystem - a jumble.
It wasn't all soybeans and wheat and clear-cut second-growth of one age.
We might not want to look at it with an uncritical nostalgia, but it deserves a closer and critical eye.
By now you've read the news in the paper that Council is "calling up" for review the decision of the Historic Landmarks Commission on Howard Hall.
Hearing Notice is out, and it looks like Bastille Day will be the occasion. A little poetic, no?
You'd think that if the Hospital were so sure of the vast community value in an adaptive playground, they would have taken greater efforts to preserve the first one or at least to rebuild it elsewhere nearby.
|House Razed for Hospital|
in the 1960s
Salem Library Historic Photos
The Albert House, in which Myra Albert Wiggins grew up, was another one.
The Hospital has a clear pattern of demolishing things in the neighborhood for its parking lots, clinics, and additional hospital buildings.
It's the soybeans, wheat, and second-growth of urban monoculture.
The same impulse, the same paradigm, in fact, that gives rise to antibiotic resistant bacteria - think about the parallels on micro- and macro-scales! It all started out innocently enough, but we've now learned there are big problems with the ostensible "efficiency" of systems that suppress diversity.
Yeah, diversity. On the Blind School parcel, there's still plenty of room for a playground and garden adjacent to a preserved Howard Hall.
|Plenty of room|
Above it all, though, we should remember that cities are complex organisms, and like biological organisms and systems, they function best with elements of diversity and jumble. Long term success sometimes requires things that look like short-term inefficiency.
Over at SCV they've got a button and are organizing more folks to come to Council.
That's nice to see!
Update, July 9th
The Staff Report is out and the City recommends reversing the HLC findings: