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Cathedrals and Church Keys

Over the weekend, we were working on the “ham shack” in the attic, when we discovered an old church key from Ortlieb's brewery. (Funny, we don't drink much beer, but we'd just bought a case of Corona that morning.) I remember the Ortlieb's brand from long ago (although my father was dedicated to the rival brew from Schmidt's). I'm not positive, but I think the Ortlieb's name has passed into brewing history.

Later, Anne sent me a link to a Flickr set of pictures taken at what's left of Ortlieb's. Perusing that set reminded me of an article in the May/June issue of Preservation entitled “Raiders of the Lost City” that described the work of amateur “urban explorers” who photograph abandoned and decaying cathedrals of industry. That sounds like fun and reminds me of our visit to Eastern State Penitentiary back in June. (Some links from the article for vicarious exploration: Abandoned Places, Ikon Visual, and Abandoned Asylum.)

It makes we wonder: are we living and working in what are little more than temporary structures? I sometimes think that we as a society have a devotion to building new rather than maintaining the old. Is it really better to tear down and rebuild than maintain and renovate? I guess that depends on whether the building is one worth maintaining; many clearly are. Perhaps these thoughts come to me because I'm not new anymore, although I am lovingly maintained.

Odd what that church key unlocked, and oh yeah, it still worked great.

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