Roger Ringer


I love barns and old buildings. Some find it good to tear down what has been left to fall down and clear it away and put up a boring metal building.

Yet the most popular shows on TV are about saving old houses and buildings, old cars, and historic structures. The shows about people doing these things are growing to the point that I cannot keep up with them. But I remember the one who really started the interest in all of this and he was my hero, Norm Abrams. His NEW YANKEE WORKSHOP and THIS OLD HOUSE paved the way for FIXER UPPER and all the other shows. Seeing how saving rather than destroying appeals to my sentimentality.

We have some people here in Kansas that make an effort to travel the back roads of the state and photograph the old barns, homes, and buildings that have been preserved, re-purposed, or left to rot and fall down. Everyday I see things I want to see saved.

There is a specialist in saving old buildings named Gene Merry and he has made a life mission of saving buildings. He teaches others how to save them and re-purpose them. He has proved the economic sense of saving old buildings rather than destroy and build a plain soulless shed.

If there is no reason to save a building then why is the material from them so much in demand? People put the old elements into new structures because they are attractive and unique.

Companies and now TV shows take the old barns and cabins that are rotting and disassemble them and make them into fantastic new homes and venues.

Within a mile of my home there have been three old building sites bulldozed. One did not have any structure left but it is now a bare spot that will never be recognized as a place that families once grew up and people lived their lives. There is one huge fantastic barn that stands in limbo that I will be heart sick if it gets torn down. Time will tell what happens.

Can you blame a farmer for cleaning up a place and farming over it? I cannot blame the practicality but I do have the sentiment that misses what is gone.

I do not understand what drives someone to let a building just rot. Rather than do something with it, let someone else do something with it, or let someone move it, it is left to rot. I don’t get that.

But I am sentimental and I see potential. I guess I am just a sentimental fool.

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