Sunday, November 21, 2010

2010 - Not a good year for preservation in the County

Alas - 2010 saw the approval of plans to demolish two landmarks within Riverside County.  The first was the San Gorgonio Inn in Banning, long a landmark in a city with so few remaining landmarks thanks to the continuing myopic foresight of the City Council.  Wanting to replace it with a mixed-use development, the Council ordered that an environmental impact report be written, probably only because the San Gorgonio Pass Historical Society and the Old Riverside Foundation deemed the structure of merit under CEQA and they couldn't get out of it.  What resulted was the most biased and unobjective example of an EIR that I've ever seen.  The City opted to purchase the Inn in 2008, then boarded the first floor up and left the second floor open to bums and other transients.  Then, Mayor Bob Botts tells the Press-Enterprise that it's an eyesore - a self-fulfilling prophesy if I've ever heard one!  Regardless, the Council will get its wish in January when the Inn comes down, to be replaced (probably in 10 years in this economy) by a bland, architecturally devoid building with a stupid name that will "honor" the old Inn.  Congratulations City of Banning - you're becoming like all other cities with little to define yourself!
The second tragedy is the demolition of the Carl Bray house in Indian Wells.  Bray, a well-known artist there, had a landmark house and mid-century modern studio right on Highway 111.  Unfortunately, that was not enough to save it despite pleas from the community, and the Council voted to tear the buildings down in the name of "progress."  Congratulations IW!  You've removed probably the only older landmark that people outside of the city may know you for!

1 comment:

  1. Like too many other lost treasures, Indian Wells ripped out the guts of this historic icon and in its place? Another patch of grass. How very, very sad.