I am not sure if I should be sad, angry, or disheartened. It was only three years ago this summer that I made a strong effort, along with a couple of others in the community to make sure the historic carriage stoops on Spaight Street were not destroyed during the street reconstruction project. It remains an effort I am most proud of in being able to make a difference.
Now I have discovered that one of the three carriage stoops located on that street has been demolished from heavy machinery running over the curb while constructing a new house. A house, I might add, that was built following a neighborhood fight to save an old one from destruction on the same site.
It would be impossible to make this story up.
To be honest, I almost wanted to cry when I saw the sight. The total disregard for caring about the past is shocking to witness. It speaks volumes about a cavalier attitude that is not consistent with the long-term goals of keeping a historic neighborhood something special, thus ensuring that people always will want to visit and be impressed with how Madison once lived.
The stoops were placed for the convenience of ladies as they exited carriages back in the time Victorian homes were first constructed and lived in. From the first time I saw them they became a point of historical pride for me about another aspect to this neighborhood that conjured up all the grandeur of days gone by. Madison is blessed to have these physical reminders of who we are today, by better knowing where we came from.
Last year there were many who wanted to preserve the second oldest frame house on Orton Park, but a more powerful and influential set of voices wanted to level the house and construct a new one. They got their way.
However, never did I think that in the rush to put a new house on that location would mean Madison would forever lose one of our historic carriage stoops! I was certain that any new owner of a house in a historic neighborhood would be proud to state that in front of his/her property a slab of Prairie du Chien limestone from the 1850’s had been placed, and used by women in fancy dresses after exiting a carriage.
Who would not want a wonderful statement of the past like that in front of their home??!!
Had I known this treasure would have been so thoroughly trashed during home construction, and such a total disregard for the past been put on full display I would have paid to move it to my home. I may not have lived in Madison all my life but I do feel a deep sense of the past in some parts of this city, and want to preserve it.
I would hope we all might feel the same.
Sadly, with the evidence of the destroyed carriage stoop it is clear all do not.