After this news became public, some Ukrainian Americans started a petition drive to save the building and "convert the church into a Ukrainian museum."
As I wrote at the end of my blog post, the day before this petition was launched:
This is very sad. In a better world, the original church would have been restored and perhaps turned into a museum.Not existing in that "better world," I accept that this is not going to happen. I would not support any kind of "Ukrainian museum" in this location, but for anything of this building to remain is highly unlikely. These photos of the original church were taken last week by reader Nick Kupensky, who graciously provided them for our use here.
In a Facebook thread about this petition, I commented:
Have any of you ever even BEEN to Shenandoah? I think it's very telling that not one signer of this petition is from Shenandoah or the surrounding area. I wish this building would be preserved, but who's going to pay for it, not just now but long-term?One of the promoters of the petition responded:
Yes I have been to Shenandoah. Gave a lecture there at Luzerne college on Ukrainian immigration last year. A preservation fund could be established (and UNA) is willing to set up permanent fund to collect donations and fundraise for the maitenance. Certainly other organizations could partner in this effort as the burden to local parish much too high.Call me a skeptic. As Rusyn American cultural activist Maria Silvestri wisely remarked,
People currently holding positions of power in ethnic communities seem to think that future generations are going to want to inherit these old, broken buildings and continue to use them as a starting point for cultural activism.She continued:
That poor parish, which has 100 families on a good day, has been maintaining it for over 100 years, and really, I give them kudos for deciding that the financial burden isn't worth it to them. How many of our parishes have to do all kinds of ridiculous fundraising for minimum maintenance on their beyond aging physical plants? And who's even going to go there to visit this proposed museum? Maybe it can be a package deal with the [nonexistent] Mrs. T's factory tour...-- Agreed!
In my next post I'm going to demonstrate some of the absurdity of establishing a "Ukrainian museum" in Shenandoah.
Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.