Externally, it appears little has changed in the nearly 200 years since Echo Hall was built. Although the interior is a bit of a mess and needs a lot of work, the building has "good bones," as the expression goes. The structure is well-built, nicely designed, and has a great deal of architectural integrity.
Of course, this argument might not be enough to convince naysayers who believe Echo Hall ought to be demolished. So perhaps these "Six Practical Reasons To Save Old Buildings" will help.
Six Practical Reasons To Save Old Buildings
from the National Trust for Historic Preservation
1. Old buildings have intrinsic value. Buildings of a certain era, namely pre-World War II, tend to be built with quality materials such as rare hardwoods and wood from old-growth forests that no longer exist. Prewar buildings were also built by different standards and might be considered a better long-term bet than brand-new counterparts. (In other words, it has a better chance at surviving a 1937 flood because it HAS survived the 1937 flood.)
2. When you tear down an old building, you never know what is being destroyed. Even eyesores can be valuable for a community's future. Only renovation will reveal the treasure trove of details that Echo Hall might have hidden away.
3. New businesses prefer old buildings. There are economic advantages for certain types of businesses to be housed in old buildings. Namely, no costly new construction. Or as urban activist Jane Jacobs summed it up in her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, "Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings."
4. Old buildings attract people. Regardless of how they actually spend their lives, Americans prefer to picture themselves living around old buildings. Think of all the downtown areas presently being renovated and revitalized (Over the Rhine, anyone?). Consider all the tourists who visit our town just to gawk at our historic homes.
5. Old buildings are reminders of a city's culture and complexity. A city needs old buildings to maintain a sense of permanency and heritage. By seeing historic buildings - whether related to something famous or recognizably dramatic - tourists and longtime residents are able to witness the aesthetic and cultural history of an area.
6. Regret goes only one way. The preservation of historic buildings is a one-way street. Once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.
- Julia Rocchi, 10 Nov 2015