Sometimes, I have noted within my theology articles the fact my husband John and I are regularly at the country's oldest universities . . . mostly Harvard, Princeton and Cornell. At the latter, there is an old firehouse front preserved in a gorge with a river, a waterfall with a fine stone bridge which overlooks it. This is only one historic site and there are many buildings too. How does one suppose people get to these spread out sites on campus? ; ;Why the same way one gets to Cleveland waterfront museums, etc. They take a shuttle from huge parking lots near the freeway. If Ashtabula would make the attractions and the beautifications of our city, connect our historic sites and eateries worth visiting (some already are) then an investor might build the lot and make money from a shuttle that would serve both cars and pickup people; those who came by boat too. People visit museums to see Tiffany glass and the ceiling at Casa Capelli's is a far, far better place than most with a great eatery. People would come if they did not have to park and they would visit the other shops too. One problem is the fact most main streets in small town America no longer are doing well because commerce has moved away. This is not always the case and I have traveled to places where such is not so. See, even though "main street" may not be the physical center nor the financial center of any given town, it still holds place as the psychological center of a city for many which is what prompted the following remark by a visitor I brought here, "If this is Main Street, I'd hate to see the rest of Ashtabula!" The hidden message is, they expected Main Street to be an example for the city as a whole! ; ;If one can make a cultural center of a main street, they can make a go of it, if they can get the traffic. Some say we ought not to try to redo Shea Theatre again or Main Street where even a mall failed, but something's are a matter of timing. "The Flats" in Cleveland are being all redone after a bust. Signs are being placed here due to new project that starts from Toledo all around the lake where we are in line. If people look in the libraries, they can find an article and a piece of lace so fine it was authenticated and accepted for donation by the internationally known Western Reserve Historical Society from me in 1993. It was from Ashtabula, I am a preservationist and conservator. I was the only paid art preservationist at a historic church in the harbor; restoring their statues. I did not x-ray them or place them beneath an MRI machine because they could not afford it. I saw who manufactured them, knew the company in Chicago to still be in operation and knew I could make the repairs if I could find out what they were made of so, I did and I gave the church the historic research. Horse hair was the binder, it was used for everything from food strainers to upholstery padding and more in years long gone. Deprado Rigali is on the fifth generation of family experts. They donated the time to hand search the files for these pieces. We are those nurturing preserving types. It took three weeks. (An old Italian family.)

Unlike some Madison merchants, I do not "knock" Walmarts, but no one travels just to see another Walmart for a vacation. I have seen historic buildings become book stores with fireplaces and rockers with bakery even in Erie, Pa. They still do business over the net too. I mean there is no reason not to make a combo while preserving a city's identity and historicity. People have to pull like our forefathers did, care.

Margarete Torma



Ashtabula

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