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Preserve Old Church

Editor, News-Register:

I am a New York City architect. I often return to Wheeling roots.

1154 National Road is a magnificent architectural treasure that needs to be preserved and re-purposed, not replaced with “hamburger strip” architecture from Anywhere, USA.

Standard commercial buildings last about the length of their mortgages, then need to be replaced. Grace Lutheran Church was clearly built to last, to raise spirits and to inspire. It still does, as long as it is there.

It is disingenuous — not very straightforward — for the paper to barely mention or show what would be demolished.

A clever architect will find a way to incorporate drive-through banking capacities into this magnificent structure. Need an example? Take a few steps to the former Vogel mansion, now Chase Bank at Edgington Lane. Drive through the portico and do your banking, if you like. What a beacon, a flagship, this complex of buildings would be for the bank — or any other use!

If the purchasers insist, let them find a vacant lot rather than destroy what makes Wheeling so special. The usable space proposed will be far below existing capabilities (call it rentable space!) of the existing structure. That is short-sighted thinking.

When Wheeling throws away its glorious history, only holes remain.

John R. Harrington

Registered Architect

New York Cit

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