Almost twenty years ago I went to Florida to interview a prisoner housed in a Federal prison in central Florida. Pure serendipity placed us in a motel located at The Villages.
When I lived in Florida in the 1970’s the Villages did not exist. Where once palms trees, scrub oak and swamp existed was now (2000) a downtown of circa 1920’s design. The story I heard was that the developers used Universal studios set designers to create the typical small town. They used a variety of architectural styles to create a downtown that seemed to evolve. I recognized a 3/4 scale replica of a turn of the century train station. The real thing was in San Antonio.
I marveled at the overall effect. But sitting on the patio of a bar and after consuming a number of adult beverages, I realized things weren’t quire right. This downtown was a pale imitation of what it was trying to portray.
Notre Dame Cathedral has stood for hundreds of years, a monument to man’s religious faith. It fared much better than the Catholic Church, during the French revolution. Hitler gave the order to destroy Paris. His Generals disobeyed orders and the cathedral survived.
It is a supreme irony that the efforts to preserve the past, instead almost destroyed it. French billionaires have pledged millions of dollars for repairs, over and above whatever the church and government earmark for the restoration.
In some quarters, there are some who begrudge the money set aside for what they view as an indulgence. These folks would probably be happier with a parking lot.
Notre Dame, prior to the fire
Hogwarts, Universal Studios, Florida
I have no doubt that the technology exists to rebuild Notre Dame. I’m afraid the necessary soul to accomplish the renovation is in short supply.