Saturday, June 30, 2007

the plot thickens....

OH wow, we had such an amazing time on our last visit to the library, (if you are new to this saga, go back a few posts to see what I am ranting on about!)

I am often enthusiastic, but this was REALLY like being a kid in a candy store. The Librarian went into the vaults below the library and brought us 3 old volumes to look through. They were the land books from the earliest days of the city,
leather bound volumes with marbled paper fly sheets,
and handwritten alphabetical index,
as well as a numerical list of land grants.
The remainder of the pages were meticulously written in pen and ink,
with plans drawn and coloured in to indicate the location of the various land grants.
Some were incredibly fragile, on yellowed old tracing paper,
and others were on a fascinating kind of waxed fine woven fabric.
Imagine the privelege of handling these treasured and irreplacable documents!
And I was squealing like a maniac when I came upon this page..... the land grant for the very building we were in at the time! Dated 1859!
It was so great that I phoned Max to get his butt down there ASAP and check it out! You can see us reflected in the glass in front of a revolving display of wonderful old photos.
I photographed as many pages as possible, and we will systematically sift through them to mark on a map the dates of the various land grants. This is SO much fun, I can't believe history was my least favourite subject in school! Says something about the curriculum and style of teaching, because if done the right way, it should be able to ignite a student's passion and interest!
They also had a book celebrating the centenary of the Erica School, and from that I established the completion date of the beautiful building which you see across the park so often in my photos from my front door. The official opening took place in 1903.
Today's now and then is a bit different, i have been showing the very old pictures and the current ones. Browsing on the website of our local community radio station last night, i couldn't believe my eyes when i came across a photo gallery called Now and Then... also relating to buildings in Central. However what this gallery focussed on was the sad state of the buildings owned by Ken Denton. He has bought up large areas of the historic area, and they have become home to drug dealers and prostitutes, while the buildings go to rack and ruin. So here are a few examples of the homes in their glory days, and as they are now thanks to Denton's neglect.


RUTH said...

How wonderful that you've found so much information and have neen allowed access to it. The now and then photos are really sad.

Ali Honey said...

That neglect is so sad.
I think you are really getting hooked on this all now. I love being a ferret too!

Sheila said...

I can feel your excitement Sue..!
How fantastic, I would have reacted in exactly the same way. How sad the buildings have been allowed to deteriorate in that what, that is the local authority's fault as well as the owners..!
They should all be as conscientious as you and bring them back up to standard, preserving as much as possible. So many people prefer little boxes to buildings with character these days.
Okay, I'll get off the soapbox now..