2011-10-20 / Editorial

Scattering Seeds

BY JOHN A. MURPHY

There is a burgeoning number of magnificent garages on Conanicut Island. Surely you have noticed.

Given the lofty scale of many of these “accessory buildings”, one might say, with only partial exaggeration, that Jamestown has come to resemble San Gimignano (second “g” silent), the hill town in Tuscany where residents vied to see who could build the most imposing tower next to the family residence.

Those Tuscan towers were ostensibly constructed for a military advantage among warring families and kinship groups. But, there may very well have also been a less practical, but more fundamentally human objective: the old “my tower is bigger than yours” syndrome.

What can we understand about the revived interest here in magnificent accessory buildings? In Jamestown, we are now approaching “build out”. Most of the best building sites, those readily usable for residential development, have been taken. So, there is a focus now on adapting existing buildings, and the remaining buildable lots, for use and occupation by new generations of Jamestowners. Since property here is scarce and expensive, creating every bit of available living space becomes a practical objective, limited only by the financial resources of the owners.

In conclusion, two thoughts for you to consider: First, at some time soon, the economy may impose a cease fire in the Jamestown garage wars. Second, small is good, particularly on a small island like ours.

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