Lost Providence, by yours truly, would make a great gift for anyone keen on the history of Providence, the blessing of traditional architecture, or the bane of modern architecture. Or, dear reader, get it for yourself.
Most bookstores in Providence and vicinity carry the book, I believe, and for those living outside the vicinity, it can be purchased through History Press or Amazon. Make sure you order the book, not the postcards, unless you want the postcards as well. Someone accidentally ordered the postcards through Amazon when she thought she was ordering the book (which can also be ordered as a Kindle e-book). Understandably, she was not pleased and (not understandably) gave my book just two stars. Boo-hoo!
That may have been a drag on sales and may still be, though some people who actually read the book have given it the maximum of five stars, along with reviews that actually have made me blush with pleasure. (Bless you all!). Still, if anyone wants to review it themselves, I will bless you, too. It does not need to be a lengthy or comprehensive assessment, just a positive one (only kidding!). You can do that through the Amazon link above.
Regretting any drag on sales may seem mercenary. Still, if a beautiful world may be said to be a better world, buying Lost Providence may be said to have a noble purpose. I am sure most people who used to read my weekly column at the Providence Journal for a quarter of a century and who have read this blog since its inauguration almost a decade ago feel the same sense of loss in their built environment as I do.
So if the book’s status as a rootin’ tootin’ good yarn (with a happy ending) doesn’t compel you to buy Lost Providence, then maybe this is your chance to chalk up your good deed for the day.
So, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you.
Ih you had the time and energy, Lost XXXXX could become a series as you travel around all of the medium to large cities in the US going through archives and creating a massive catalog of “losts.”
Could be a great resource for architectural libraries.
Christian Rogers, AIA 205-447-1226
Blackmon Rogers Architects, LLC 3 Office Park Circle, Suite 316 Birmingham, Alabama 35223 http://www.blackmonrogers.com
Christian, I am flattered by your suggestion, but I simply don’t know as much about other cities as I do about Providence. “Lost Providence” is not your father’s Lost XXXXX book, but rather it uses the concept of lost buildings to levitate a larger argument in favor of traditional architecture, based on the fact that before 1950 most people assumed that a new building would naturally be a better building; after 1950 (or whenever you place modernism’s capture of the industry’s power centers) it became the common assumption that a demolition would necessarily be followed by a deplorable new building. This is what caused historic preservation to transform from a niche interest into a mass movement.
Plus, I have fatter fish to fry, such as a possible book explaining why it only took two decades for modern architecture to go from a niche design phenomenon to knocking off and replacing the architecture establishment worldwide. Such a narrative would give me the opportunity to express a lot of my pet theories about architecture and its history.