Tuesday, October 8, 2013
“Did Front Street really burn yesterday or was that just a dream? A really bad dream?”
Wednesday, [Sept. 25, 2013] that afternoon around 7 p.m., I finally felt ready to go downtown with my sister. I knew I couldn’t take seeing the flames. But I thought I might be able to stomach seeing the ruins of what was left. I couldn’t even look at all the pictures my friends had on the computer for hours yesterday because I knew I couldn’t bear to see my beautiful Front Street crumbling. It was as if Sherman had made his way to our town and torched it all!
I know I did not own a business or reside there. Not a single personal item of mine was lost. But for me I felt the hurt just as much as if it were my own. Some know and some don’t know that I have a very strong and very special love for the Historic District. I spent half my life growing up downtown.
As a little girl, I accompanied my daddy as he went to work, as a builder, repairing old homes and buildings. I helped him in his work, but mostly I would take off on my skates or bike and would start exploring the streets. Then we moved to Orange Street and I had more access to every book and newspaper the library held about the history of the town.
As a teenager, I would spend hours in the local history room studying the information of the history, houses and buildings. I could never get enough of it. I was hungry for it. I would often take my high school friends on tours through town and cemeteries telling them all the legends.
I fell in love with the Kaminski House while working there in 1999. At 20, I wanted to open my own tour business but then fell in love with the art of picture framing as I worked at Augustus and Carolina framing (now the Maritime Museum).
Then in 2008 I opened my little frameshop on King Street, Hole in the Wall Framing. I just couldn’t see my shop being anywhere else but downtown. I have fallen in love with the people in this town … residents and business owners. If my heart feels this broken, then I can’t imagine what they are feeling.
To see residents who have had every personal item and memory snatched from them, to see the restaurants and stores who were just starting out with success in the economy and the ones who have been there for years that we had grown to love, to see it all those hopes and dreams gone has just made my heart break more!
This is not the first major fire this town has seen. In the 1800s we lost a whole block of Screven between the courthouse and Town Clock. They rebuilt and recovered then and we will do it again. Only this time I feel it will be better because there will be more love for the history and architecture put into rebuilding.
So many prayers for these people who have lost and many thanks to the firefighters who have risked their life! What a beautiful town we have filled with beautiful people!”
Charity Garvin Thomas is the daughter of George Garvin. She grew up in Georgetown. She wrote this letter the morning after the fire of Sept. 25, 2013.
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