"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, December 15, 2006

Gone but not forgotten

In a matter of hours, a dear and familiar landmark was lost forever.

When I head up to our cottage on the big lake, I nearly always travel the slow and scenic route, passing through the town to our small village at the tip of the Bay. Before I get to the really bendy parts of the road, I always glance westward for a glimpse of the Bay View Pavilion.

For decades it has sat there, as evidenced by an image from my collection of old lake-related postcards. It's the building with the red roof and the long porch.

To see a view of the entrance side, take a look at this item available from Ebay. (Maybe I've just started a bidding war...its nostaligia value has suddenly soared.)

During the Big Band era, in its heyday as a dance hall, all the big names played there. I've heard the Chap's dad talk about the fun of going there when he was younger.

Over my two-plus decades on the lake, it was a roller skating rink and a restaurant, and was briefly resurrected as a venue for dances. And my father-in-law, who enjoys dancing and big bands, returned.

This is how I remember it.

Over this past summer and autumn, I studied the progress of construction as it underwent conversion to luxury condominiums.

Very early yesterday morning, due to some undetermined cause, a spark turned into a flame. The fog was so dense that no passers-by were aware of the fire--which went from a one-alarm to a four-alarm over the course of a few hours.

For a more detailed account of what happened, and a very dramatic photograph of the conflagration, go here. As a photographer, I can admire the picture, but it's hard for me to gaze upon.

It's too soon to know what will happen to the site. I'm already hoping the replacement structure will bear some familiar resemblance to what's been lost...that it will be re-developed I have no doubt, given its prime location.

The sprinkler system in the condo units was supposed to be activated today.

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