We are more than what we have lost
by Tom Doty
News this week that the old Prestonsburg Elementary building will soon be demolished and that Jerry’s Restaurant will soon be closing after 43 years plunged a double dagger into the hearts of the Prestonsburg residents.
In discussions we have had, the common sentiment seems to be it is too much sad news, too close together. Indeed, the news has cast a heavy mood over the city, as we mull over the sad fact that two icons, so intimately familiar to anyone who has grown up, lived and worked in the area over many decades, will soon vanish from the landscape.
But this is not the first time residents of Prestonsburg have seen such rapid change. We recall the 1980s, when two buildings of high historical importance — the old Garfield House and the West Prestonsburg depot — disappeared in rapid succession.
At the time, local residents bemoaned the loss as a potentially fatal blow to the heart and soul of the city, a tragic eradication from the region’s cultural and historical fabric. And to be sure, the loss was deeply felt.
But life didn’t stop. Prestonsburg, although it lost some of its historical wealth, continued with its distinctive character intact.
The same will be true today. We might shed a tear or two, when the lights are extinguished on the familiar Jerry’s sign or when the bricks come tumbling down around so many childhood memories. But we will continue, our sense of history and community intact. We will pause to remember what we have lost, then continue marching toward all the future has in store for us.
Prestonsburg, Floyd County and Eastern Kentucky are more than buildings within them, more even than our familiar and fondly-held haunts that contain so many of our memories.
Changes are upon us, to be certain, but we firmly believe that the soul and character of our community remains unscathed. That is what is truly important, and that is what will ensure that Prestonsburg survives, regardless of the changes we face.
— The Floyd County Times
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