Monday, September 14, 2015

Pottstown: It's About Time

Photo by Evan Brandt

The opened time capsule stands empty in front of
Pottstown Borough Hall as Ron Downie reads a
composition to mark the occasion.
Pottstown's past and future shared the stage Sunday.

During the annual Carousel of Flavor, a time capsule buried at the corner of High and Hanover streets was opened.

Minutes earlier, on the same stage, two over-sized checks from Montgomery County transferred $500,000 to two projects that highlight Pottstown's past to help improve its future.

The checks, $250,000 each, are for the Colebrookdale Railroad station in Memorial Park, and for the final physical improvements needed to open the Carousel at Pottstown building across King Street from the station.

(Full disclosure: I was once paid by the Carousel project to write grants and other things, but no longer am.)

Both projects highlight Pottstown's connection to the past, a genuine connection that Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust Executive Director Nathaniel Guest recently pointed out to me as being so crucial to attracting tourists interested in history.

He was right when he said they understand the difference between a Walt Disney building made to look like it was built in the 1870s, and an actual building that was -- or a railroad for that matter.

Photo by Evan Brandt

The contents of the freshly opened time capsule
were a big hit Sunday during the Carousel of Flavor
Part of the tourism and recreation district that is to be created around the two projects, and Pottsgrove Manor; and the Mantawny Green mini-golf ourse; and Memorial Park; and the Trilogy BMX Park and spray parks there; and the Schuylkill River Trail; and Montgomery County Community College; and the Schuylkill River Heritage Area interpretive center, Pottstown stands posed to finally capitalize on the historic heritage it has preserved for so long.

And, if you'll pardon the pun, it's about time.

Pottstown's future will not be made by making it look like any other suburb, it will be made by being unique, a uniqueness that people who have lived here their whole lives sometimes fail to recognize and appreciate.

The town just celebrated the 200th anniversary of its incorporation, obviously its history is one of its greatest assets.

And one of those assets, the Carousel and its trademark restaurant festival, is being used to leverage one of its potential assets -- Americans' growing appreciation for good food.

Terry Jones, a longtime volunteer with the Carousel, told me that it was looking good for Sunday's Carousel of Flavor Restaurant Festival to break last year's record-breaking returns.

Opening the time capsule during this ever-more-popular festival was a good decision, as it put together the people who appreciate all that the "foodie" movement represents, with those who appreciate and remember what Pottstown was like 50 years ago.

Here is some video of the contents:

It was hard not to smile watching people who have lived in Pottstown all their lives, pouring over the photos of those who they knew, where they worked and how they made their way into the sealed steel time capsule that nevertheless leaked a little -- Thanks Hurricane Agnes.

Here's to another 200 years Pottstown.
There was the evidence, as Ron Downie noted in the composition he read for the event,  of the vibrant town Pottstown once was -- and can be again.

The industries will be different,

The interests may be different.

But it we're smart, and don't let old thinking stab us in the foot, the results will be all too recognizable -- a town filled with people who love living here.

Welcome the artists, welcome the educated and make Pottstown a place where learning and creativity are applauded and Pottstown can be vibrant again.

Like it was 50 and 200 years ago.

Without further editorializing, here are the Tweets I could not resist making during this year's event:

No comments:

Post a Comment