The Square: Root of Change

17 Jun

This past week, something happened in my town that brought little fanfare, but it is an example of how things change.

Seat’s Studio opened in 1915 and has been a fixture on the town square since then. I don’t know that it was the first photography studio in town, but I know that it was the longest lasting one. At some point, everyone had their picture taken at Seat’s, and I would imagine that they chronicled the images of several generations of families.

At least three generations of one family ran the business throughout its existence, but that existence ended a few days ago. The last owner said that he wanted to make it to 100 years, but that was not to be. Before closing, he contacted several people around town to tell them that he had photographs of them to pick up. There was one of my dad, but there were photographs of many dads.

There were also pictures of the town and how it has changed through the years. Change is the one thing that can’t be stopped. We know that from history, and we know that from our own lives. Change is good, but it also has casualties. Seat’s Studio was one of those.

It was killed by the change in technology. In today’s world, we don’t need to go to a studio to have pictures made. We can take them on digital cameras and use computers to make them look professionally done. There is no more need for a darkroom and someone who knows how to use it.

It was killed by the change in the landscape. At one time, the town square was the center of commerce. That’s where everyone went to do business. These days the square is filled with small law offices and a few long-time stores, like Seat’s Studio, that are trying to hang on. There was once an arcade, but it’s abandoned. There was once a grocery store, but it’s an office. There was once a courthouse, but it was torn down decades ago.Lebanon Square

Recently, there has been an effort to revitalize the town square. A few boutiques have opened, and the old movie theater has been going through years of renovation. A committee is trying to bring back some old glory by preserving the buildings and changing the traffic patterns. Unfortunately, some of the business owners are fighting those changes. The changes scare them, and I don’t blame them. Look at what happened to the studio. However, I believe that these changes may help them avoid that fate.

Our town square is the host of two worlds. During the day, it is the domain of lawyers, a few stores and the Chamber of Commerce. At night, it is the domain of teenage boys who sit around in their pickup trucks and try to attract girls. The owner of Seat’s Studio realized that none of those people were going to come in and have their pictures made.

Changes take place. Stores close. Towns and cities alter their landscapes. The people who have their pictures made pass away. Those changes are inevitable, but they are also sad. The only way to react to changes that are sad is to make changes that are positive. It’s too late for Seat’s Studio, but it is not too late for the square. It’s time for revitalization and a positive change.

4 Responses to “The Square: Root of Change”

  1. kari June 17, 2013 at 14:41 #

    We have had great hopes for the square since we moved here 10 years ago. I was even on a planning committee four or five years ago but haven’t seen much happen. I don’t think people who have lived here all their lives know what a neat place it could be, a real draw to Lebanon!

    • Rick June 17, 2013 at 15:32 #

      It could be a great place. We just have to get it started. There is a vocal minority against the improvements, but most of us natives want to be proud of it.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. leslinalicia June 17, 2013 at 22:28 #

    It does need to change. The historic aspect will not be changing, that is why they have zoning laws for historic areas. People are always hesitant for change, but I love it.

    • Rick June 18, 2013 at 01:41 #

      Change has to happen. That’s the way the world works.

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