Losing our history

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, December 31, 2004

Oh joy. Another tourist building downtown. What a surprise. To my relief, the city is making the owners put up a false facade like all the others in the neighborhood. This, of course, is because it is part of the "historic" district. Is this a joke? There seems to be nothing historic about downtown Juneau anymore.

Granted, I've only been here for 31 years, so I missed a lot of true historic buildings downtown, but what we've got now you could find on any street, in any tourist town, U.S.A. Or for that matter, the Caribbean, etc.

Downtown Juneau has lost all of its charm. Of course, this happens when you allow every T-shirt shop, worldly jewelry store, and made-in-China Alaska memento store to put up shop. The tourists are having to get farther out of downtown to find a true Alaskan experience. Is this why I can now bump into them on my favorite trails?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against tourism. It's been great for our economy. My own children have benefited from summer jobs during college. But, there has got to be a point where we say enough is enough. If we keep going at the rate we are, the cruise ships will stop coming because the tourists won't like the feel of downtown anymore.

Give me old Henry and wino alley any day over the mass-produced tourist shops that open for five or six months each year.

Thanks, planning commission, for keeping Juneau "historic."

Mary McBride


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