I’m not certain too many people have the foresight to construe exactly what the legacy the current administration in Pownal is leaving to history now that the antique Bartel’s Lodge is demolished.
Books on local and regional history are authored every half a century or so on the average. Absolutely no one in Pownal’s future will be impressed by how long particular residents of our era managed to live within the borders of this town -- despite it being profusely professed as though it equates to anything of any relevance or significance whatsoever -- but rather what those individuals did to preserve and protect the integrity, history and quality of life within this timeframe.
Everything we have each been involved in over the past decades since we have all resided here are a part of the permanent and public record that those who come after us will be able to attain & research with ease. All the minutes (and videotapes where applicable) of every single select board, DRB, and Planning Commission meeting will be perused. Paper documents and even electronic communications will be poured over. The videotapes will be watched & studied. The numerous "Letters to the Editor" published by our local newspapers will be accessed. Each of the players and the very integral roles they served in -- everyone from select board members to residents who lived here for many years as well those who resided here for but a brief time -- will be in the minds and undoubtedly named specifically within the writings of some future author as he or she takes pen to paper to document life in Pownal -- the life we presently awake to each morning.
And what this town and those who led it will be most notoriously renowned for, alas, will be the destruction of a once impressive and historically important 19th century structure that had survived the many reputed trials & tribulations it endured as it entered the 21st century, only to be ultimately destroyed to make way for yet another single storied, bland, tract-type building devoid of character. A building that will absolutely never be recognized as an edifice or tribute to any one individual or group of elected officials, but rather as a constant & nagging reminder of a piece of history lost and an artifact that had every opportunity to be saved, salvaged and preserved for posterity -- but was not.
Future residents will one day ponder and investigate as to the reasons, for certainly the myriad of potential solutions had been presented repeatedly and were readily pursuable. One can only begin to imagine the ramifications & reactions this near eventuality will illicit decades from today. Only the very youngest of Pownal’s present residents might possibly be here still to reckon with the consequences -- consequences that can now never be altered or reversed for the benefit or consideration of our future generations.