Saturday, August 23, 2008

Williams Hall

100 years ago the Clarence Center Volunteers Firemen Company was formed. E.W. Eshelman donated the land for a fire hall and the company set out to raise money to build one. The first firemen's picnic was held in July of that year for fundraising, and the tradition has continued ever since. Wesley Williams donated a large sum of money to the fund, thus "Williams Hall".

As time went on more space was needed for trucks, since there was only one doorway, on the lower left. Eventually another hall was built and the original was mothballed. Now it's gone, but you knew that if you went to the picnic last year.

Now the site of Williams Hall bears a marker with a plaque on the back - gone but not forgotten. While demolition by neglect still irks me, it's not uncommon, unfortunately. The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium being another example of this mindset, as well as the grand interior of the no longer used entrance to the Buffalo Science Museum (at least that may be renovated).

There is a bright side - now the bandstand can be seen from Clarence Center Road. This isn't the place that Route 66, Hit n Run, and West of Mark will play - they'll be on a stage in the beer tent. No, this bandstand will be home to a more low-key style. The groups there will play the kind of music that all ages can enjoy while eating or resting from walking around.

The picture of Williams Hall is also a reminder to take photos of historic buildings while you can. You never know - one day you may show up to capture an image for posterity, camera in hand, and find out it's gone. I should know, because it happened to me.