The Challenge of Preserving Maritime Cultural Landscapes – Two Examples

The Challenge of Preserving Maritime Cultural Landscapes – Two Examples

Tug Owned by Selvic Marine Towing Bask In Early Morning Sunlight on a Fall Day in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin  (MaitimeImages.Net/Sam Shogren)

I'm sharing a post on Facebook from earlier today from the Sturgeon Bay (WI) Historical Society. I'm sharing this because it highlights the struggles older maritime communities face as they explore new paths to the future. This is compounded here because this is one of the last active shipbuilding communities on the Great Lakes and represents the industrial heart of America. I am sharing because this is a story about my hometown.

Photo: Visitors tour a collection of grain elevators that loom over the Buffalo waterfront. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)
Visitors tour a collection of grain elevators that loom over the Buffalo waterfront.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)

Community Development & Maritime Preservation

At issue is the preservation of a century-old granary along the harbor's western shore. The City of Sturgeon Bay, WI. has yet to determine what to do with what is one of the few remaining pieces of its architectural and industrial heritage along the City's former working waterfront. Gone on the fishing net sheds and docks of a long past commercial fishing industry. Gone is a custom shipyard that once built ferries for the State of Alaska's Highway Dept. Gone is a major Coast Guard installation. Gone are the other landscape features that comprise what archaeologists like myself call a "Maritime Cultural Landscape."
 
Architectural Rendering for the Canalside Redevelopment of Buffalo's Historic Working Waterfront (from: http://www.perkinseastman.com)
Architectural Rendering for the Canalside Redevelopment of Buffalo's Historic Working Waterfront   (from: http://www.perkinseastman.com)

 Want to see what happens when a community embraces its Maritime Cultural Landscape?

Look to Buffalo, New York where vision and private/public partnerships reimaged an old working waterfront into a vibrant community center. Buffalo demonstrates how communities and developers can leverage an initial investment of  $2.2 million and make that grow to a $35 million investment. That investment then leveraged an additional $200 million in private sector investment and the creation of "...thousands of construction jobs and easily over a thousand permanent jobs” according to Brendan Mehaffy, executive director of the city’s Office of Strategic Planning.
 
You can learn more about Buffalo's redevelopment efforts here at https://nextcity.org/features/view/buffalo-waterfront-redevelopment-economy
 
You can also see a video piece featured on Public Television's  Globe Trekker here at: http://www.pilotguides.com/tv-shows/globe-trekker/series-17/globe-trekker-roadtrip-rustbelt-highway/
 
 
 
 
 
Sturgeon Bay's Westside Grainery Awaits an Uncertain Future (Photo: Sturgeon Bay Historical Society)

Event Details

Join us at Sturgeon Bay City Hall before the Finance Committee Meeting (4:00 pm CDT). Where we can share our love for the Granary one last time and ask the members to help save this iconic structure as they discuss and vote on what to do with the salvaged 1st-floor materials of the Granary if.
 
We still hold out hope and are working daily to save this beautiful building but we need your help to remind the City our heritage is worth saving.
 
After the meeting walk (or drive) with us over the Granary to spread/share our love for our history.
 
If you are unable to make the meeting join us at the Granary to spread your love.

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