Careful what you wish for

At the Deliberative session, my old pal Judy couldn’t contain herself and got up to offer an impassioned plea for the old pile o’ bricks.  It was looking like the same old fare until she upped the ante considerably by flatly stating that the building will last another 200 years.

Say what?  I guess it will be better than new because look at what 120 years has come to.  But absurd as that statement is, I got to thinking about longevity and tried to put it into some perspective.

Consider the times when the place was built.  1886 I believe.  That’s the 19th century, 21 years after the civil war.  The change that would occur over the next century to virtually every facet of life could not have been predicted.

Now try to imagine where the world will be in 100 years.  OK, how about 50 years?  Do you think that it will be any easier to get a slate roof repaired?  How about energy use?  Do you think that old retrofit buildings will be considered part of the problem or part of the solution?  Trust me, there is no scenario on the table that transforms BMH into anything worthy of the term Energy Efficient in the 21st century. It may well be that even after spending millions on the place, it’s appetite for maintenance and energy will never be anything but a drag on the annual budget.

So I wonder what John Brewster wished for.  Was it that his legacy building would last 200 years, or did he know better?

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2 Responses to Careful what you wish for

  1. Tom Bickford says:

    Cut and paste the link below to see Parker’s History of Wolfeboro and excerpts from John Brewster’s will in the Chapter on John Brewster.

  2. wolfeblog says:

    Forever is a really long time. I had been under the impression that the Brewster Hall trust was independent of Brewster Academy. As I read the will, they appear to be one and the same, which raises the a few questions: Did the trustees keep segregated the incomes from Brewster Hall and apply those funds to upkeep and repair as directed in the will? What status did the building have with respect to the directives of the trust after we abandoned it as a Library? Is the trust still solvent with respect to other directives? Does Brewster Academy qualify as a “Free School” of Wolfeboro and Tuftonboro, and more to the point does the SAU qualify and are they entitled to a portion of any annual payments as directed in the will? Is there an ongoing effort to distribute welfare funds as specified in the will? Was there any action initiated or contemplated for breach of trust before we decided to buy the building from the trust?

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