Williamstown offers a lesson for Egremont – and Richard Allen

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By Saturday, Nov 18 Letters
David Scribner
The South Egremont School whose preservation is a topic of discussion in Egremont, Massachusetts.

To the Editor:

In response to his letter describing the Egremont School as “tiny, costly and ugly,” Edge readers will recall that Mr. Allen is the man who worked to derail CPA [Community Preservation Act] in Egremont. The CPA was a funding mechanism that could be used for the school, the Church, for French Park, Prospect Lake, and other public spaces or places of historic value that we now must get nickel and dimed by Mr. Allen whenever we go to raise funds to attend to the common wealth of our community.

The 1753 House in Williamstown, Mass., that is maintained by the town.

There is another old and ugly building that was nearly torn down that Mr. Allen and his cohorts might reflect upon. The 1753 House greets you as you enter Williamstown. It speaks volumes about the roots of this community and its concern to maintain tangible reminders of its history. Egremont’s school is 130 years younger, a bit bigger, with very large windows for the 1880’s. Sunlight still floods the rooms, but by today’s measure I guess you could say both the 1753 House and the Egremont School are small and ugly. Certainly neither is architecturally significant.

However, their presence is significant. They cause us to reflect on some pretty good ideas about who we are and what we like to remember about ourselves when we see them. They are assets we share. How we care for them today will create our future. Do we see them as small and ugly? Or are they icons of some greater values we still support. As money dominates our society, is there still room for a one room school house? Mr. Allen thinks not. I disagree.

Susan Bachelder


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