The loss of the Williams Newsroom from Spring Street feels so sad and wrong, reminiscent of the loss of Phillips' Store from Water Street. The Newsroom was one store that represented and supported our community's intellectual life -- following the news, reading, writing, composing, computing, creating.
Over the years, its exterior changed but it remained the iconic narrow shop smelling of newspapers, ink, and bubble gum, always with a ball game on the radio, where households picked up their Sunday papers and students could walk to buy notebooks (yes, students still use them). We will feel this loss sharply. Now, instead of patronizing a longtime family business, we must drive to a faceless chain store for these essentials.
For the street as a whole, this takes away yet another practical, useful store and thwarts an important town goal of keeping Spring Street functional and relevant. Alums are bewailing the Newsroom's absence -- after a century of service -- already. We've lost faith in whoever makes these decisions and we're certain something bland, trendy and overpriced will now fill the space.
As the street turns more toward tourism, let's remember that the character of our downtown has been a principal draw for prospective residents, right up there with our beautiful landscape and excellent schools. It's hard to believe that no one had the patience or imagination to find a better solution than this. Spring Street, the college explains, is evolving, but this feels more like wrong-headed economic engineering in a direction no one in town desires.