Obviously I am naive or I guess I wouldn’t have been so shocked today when I drove by the old Riverview Florists building on Anderson Boulevard. I was so overwhelmed by its appearance, I had to turn around and go back. It hadn’t been that long since I was past and the degree of destruction was so great I was stunned.
This building was a historic treasure. It certainly needed some work, but it should have been and could easily have been preserved. I was told that the main buildings and possibly the three greenhouses next to them would be saved when the city of East Liverpool bought the property they stood on. Apparently this was never on the agenda from the beginning.
When I left the property to move downtown, after the city’s purchase from the Bosco family five years ago, the main building was structurally sound and in good condition, with the exception of the plumbing in the upstairs apartment and the fact that there was no heat in the building. It was left clean and in order. Its two oak front doors were intact, their brass door knockers and stained glass still there. Its wooden mantel and the leaded glass windows over it were still there. Its conservatory with its curved glass and stone fireplace were still standing. Its interior wood and antique glass sliding doors unmarred. Its tiled pond still whole and clean.
The upstairs apartment was as the Bosco family left it. The grass had been cut and the outside, though needing some repair, was still in presentable condition from the road aspect. After five years, the building is now beyond repair. Today when I went by, I saw that the solid oak front door was missing its brass lion door knocker, and had been broken in half and pushed open. It was heartbreaking to see what a change just a few months had made since my last trip by.
No effort was made to protect the property, that was both historic and beautiful. A pad locked gate, some wood and an alarm system could have saved this building for future use and for its historic value. Instead it was left open to the savage destruction it has endured. Here is another historic gem destroyed by neglect and a society that believes any empty building, not in use, is fair game for trashing.
Why does East Liverpool have no respect for her history, tearing down structure after structure, making parking lots with no effort to preserve and remake what should be respected and saved? What a sad statement for our town. What a great loss of our history.
So today, I am mourning a place of beauty, and tranquility, a place of memories of times past, of blooms and sunshine, a place that we’ll never see the like of in our town again. “It couldn’t have been saved, you say.” You are being idealistic. “It was just a building,” and so it was.