Opinion

Home is our sense of place

There are places we call "home." Home is where we live. Home is where we grew up. Home is a community, a place we know, a place where we feel well at home. This is our sense of place.

Our sense of place can be discomfited even by the small act of someone sitting in our accustomed seat at school or church or work. Most of us have gone back to a place that once was home and found things radically changed. We may be confused by the lack of visual landmarks or by rampant growth. Businesses and buildings are gone. The fabric of the community has changed. The house we lived in has been remodeled or replaced. Natural areas are covered by cookie cutter apartment complexes, even though many stand empty. It is growth for growth's sake. Even the pace of life has changed. We've lost our sense of connectedness our sense of place to our past home.

May is Historic Preservation Month. All over the country, towns and cities will celebrate their history through the physical reminders of the past. Historic preservation takes several forms. We preserve or restore the buildings, structures, sites, districts and objects that represent the history and achievements of our communities and our nation. We display objects that illustrate our history in museums available to the public. We collect oral histories from our elders. We publish local and regional histories. In these ways, we tell our stories to one another.

All these forms of historic preservation provide an important link to our past. They give us roots. They underline and even create a feeling of community and continuity. They anchor our sense of place. The citizens of Marysville, through the Marysville Historical Society (MHS), are actively engaged in building a museum as a focal point for local and regional history. We have the land, fundraising is underway and architectural plans have been drawn. The MHS also has an oral history program in process and has published a number of historical calendars, books, DVDs and other materials. Soon we will begin to prepare an inventory of structures 50 years or older for possible listing in local, county and (possibly) national registers of historic places.

It doesn't matter whether you have lived here all your life or are a new arrival. This is your home now. You can set down roots or set them more deeply. You can help to create and safeguard that sense of place for all of us. You can enrich and celebrate the community in which you live and raise your children by participating in its preservation and in a variety of Historic Preservation Month events occurring throughout the region.

For information about these events in Snohomish County, contact Brent Lambert at 425-388-3263. For information about Marysville's museum, oral history or historic inventory projects, call MHS 360-659-3090 or President Ken Cage 360-659-5808, visit our "premuseum" at 1508-B, Third Street (M-Sa, 10-3), or join us at a monthly meeting, held monthly on the first Monday at 6 p.m. at the Marysville Library. If you would like to add your house to the inventory, information and forms are available at our Third Street location.

Sheila Harrington Stump sits on the Board of Trustees of the Marysville Historical Society, representing the Greater Marysville Artists' Guild. She is a pending member of the Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission, past state archaeologist with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and former staff of the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

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