Archived Story

Don’t let opportunity to save Kirkbride slip away [UPDATED]

Published 4:00am Monday, April 22, 2013 Updated 6:05am Monday, April 22, 2013

We are so powered by the consumption of excess that we destroy everything in our path, it seems we value nothing. The Kirkbride building is rare, it’s a square egg, and people from this planet have had thoughts of destroying it.

The Kirkbride is tall, skinny and beautiful and has perfect curves. People have vacillated between fear and awe of this building. The history it has is profound. To conceive of it being ripped apart is distressing.

It is not the disease but the neglect of the remedy which generally destroys life.

It seems that if there’s more than one way to do a job and one of those ways will end up in disaster, then somebody will try to do it that way.

The moments a person regrets most in their life are those which they didn’t commit to when they had the opportunity. Here is an opportunity of mass scale. What is greener than re-using a huge building such as the Fergus Falls Kirkbride? Reduce, re-use, recycle, go green; it’s an idea that airs on the side of modern. Plan A needs to be to save this Kirkbride Building and Plan B has to be to enforce plan A.

A little determination and an imagination can go a long way. A mind that cannot use its wings is the clearest proof that it is out of its element.

If thoughts of demolition are clouding your common sense then you need to take the torpedo off target. The Kirkbride building is full of prosperous hope. Keep the community’s fortune away from the casket. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

The person who knows how will always have a job and the person who knows why will always be his boss.

Saving something special should not be so difficult. Already, too many buildings are gone and so many have been destroyed — The Montana Flour Mill in the center of town has been empty for a long time and I’m sure someday it will be a fascinating building and may even find itself on a postcard again.

The old Northern Pacific Depot (next to the library) also sat empty for many years and thanks to someone with a vision, now it is in the process of coming back to life (Maybe there could have been a tunnel to the Library and the Old Depot could have become the new library addition and solve that problem, too) and what would have been more historically correct than a restored Depot Library?

However so many churches, schools, businesses, homes, etc. have not been dealt the same lucky hand.

Remember The William Barkley Hotel now brought back to its original name the Kaddatz? That, too, almost ended up being a nothing but it is now a something.

The Kaddatz could have been a tourist attraction for Fergus Falls but I guess they didn’t realize before they demolished the overpass and the back end of the building (that went to the river) off the place a few years back.

The Fergus Falls Kirkbride is still up there floating in a sea of trees nowhere near out of breath or sinking, but she is probable thinking “I have done well for this city. They will eventually throw me a lifeline.”

The area on the Kirkbride Campus was a great success for the Summerfest. Has anyone given any thought to the city keeping the land known as the Apple Orchard/Driving range behind the Kirkbride for that event and any other events like it? It could be a city park on its off days, a separate entrance could be added so as not to interfere with any future development of the Kirkbride building.

The land has sat neglected for many years and would have to be cleaned up to its original splendor, but would surely suffice.

Back to preservation, before tax dollars are just wasted on demolition and the Kirkbride is forced to make a crash landing remember the greenest building in the world is one that is never built, so why are we tearing down everything in sight?

Historic preservation, Economic development, Community Development. Plant a few seeds for our future generations.


Loren Rieken

Fergus Falls

  • nanajean

    Bravo! I hope this letter makes it clear that it isn’t the Friends of the Kirkbride that keeps this building upright. It is a lot of impassioned people who see the beauty of this place. I truly hope with this photographic group coming in that this place does make the impact that it needs to drive this point home. Thank You Loren for posting this.

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