Italian Villa

True, not every old building can be saved.  And true, Lincoln Highway East is as close to an architectural lost cause as any four-mile-long parking lot could be.  But catching up on some old news items, this Intel article from March announcing the planned demolition of the former Italian Villa (2331 Lincoln Highway East) begs a few incredulous comments. (Article copied below for when the link expires).

To wit:  “Mark A. Magrecki, director of land development with Steckbeck Engineering & Surveying Inc., told supervisors that NBA Hotel LLC wants to update its site to maintain a competitive edge because there are ‘plenty of hotels popping up.’  Magrecki said the owners want to raze the former Italian Villa East restaurant and comedy club and build an 83-room hotel at the site and connect it with Rodeway Inn’s 39-room motel.

Translation: We need another hotel because we have enough hotels already.  Genius.

Another excerpt:  “Magrecki said after a search on the Internet and talking with Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, he couldn’t come up with any records that the dwelling would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.”

Translation: I didn’t read it on the Internet, so it must not be true.  Google uber alles?

And last but not least: “The supervisors, however, still recommended the owners look into somehow reusing materials from the dwelling in the new structure to give it a local flavor.”

Translation:  Don’t lick the bricks.  They taste Amish.

As a preservation approach encouraged by elected officials, this sets a phenomenally misguided precedent.  A mink coat is not a mink.  A bearskin rug is not a bear.  And a few “historic” stones glued to a new motel is not local heritage.