Letter to the editor
Often progress covers a multitude of sins. We need this because - This should be changed to fit in todays world - or we need to keep up with the Joneses. Whatever happened to pride in the past, the world and the Joneses be hanged.
I’ve been a Cherokean most of my life, except a break 37 years in the Air Force, this has been my home. When I decided to move back, I had a dear friend ask me, “Are you moving there on purpose?” He had to listen to why and after I gave him the Reader Digest’s version, his reply was “I’ll miss you and the best of everything.”
There has been many changes. Steam engined power trains gave way to the diesel locomotive. The smoke belching “Iron Horse” was always a treat to watch. Spouting steam and the clanging bell as it would arrive and depart the depot heading to the next town. We lived on a farm that had a bird’s eye view of the route to Larrabee. In the winter on a crisp cold morning, you could hear the train start up and the grade and soon the cloud of black smoke would come into view. Once in a while it would have to slow down or stop to make sure the tracks were dry or back up to get a good hold to gain traction.
The most important remembrance was the majestic buildings that lined main street, north and south and east and west. This made a dent in my memory that remains to this day. They were constructed of materials that have lasted more than a century and will probably last another hundred years.
Since I have returned to my roots, to enjoy the rest of my time that the Lord has given me, changes have occurred that are disappointing and sometimes sad. The latest of these is the proposed demolition of the US Post Office building. If the sources are correct, it will be destroyed in favor of a parking lot. This building and what it represented as our city grew should be a cornerstone of our community. This building is more than a place the distributes mail, it was and should be considered the life blood of a City that grew out of the prairie into a building metropolis. To destroy this would be destroying a part of history that helped make Cherokee a great place to live, raise a family and enjoy life to the fullest. The Post Office brought mail of every description. Packages, letters from loved ones, flyers of pending sales, business advertisements, bills and “yes” even junk mail. It was a center of communication. Just as today, people picking up their mail always have time to stop and chat. Sometimes they may meet an individual that could be part of their future. Let’s not forget the number of mail carriers that delivered every piece of paper imaginable in all kinds of weather. They truly supported the code; “Neither wind nor rain, sleet or snow shell keep them from their appointed rounds.”
By the way, if a parking lot should appear, who will maintain it? The City, the current property owners, volunteer citizens, and will the cost be borne by the City, current proper owners or voluntary donations? Additionally, it will be a slab of concrete or could it possibly be landscaped in a manner that would be attractive for all to see such the walkway adjacent to the theater going to the Museum? At least that would provide passers-thru and new-comers an idea that Cherokee has a sense of pride and is willing to advertise it. Oh yes! A marble or granite column with a brass plague attached would be fitting tribute.
Do not destroy part of our heritage in the name of progress with a parking lot, which the need for seems marginal at best. Identify it as a historical structural so its past can be given the accolades it is due.
As a footnote, does a downtown residence come to mind?
Mahlon H. Stief