Manzanita quonset hut reverie,

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Quonset Hut Reverie

I don’t know if it has registered yet with many people around here, but a community landmark is in the process of being destroyed. Another part of our visual history has been condemned to the breaker’s bucket and the picker’s axe as a demolition crew ignominiously removes the quonset structure that has guarded the east end of Manzanita Avenue and east entrance of our little town for more decades than I can imagine. To many new people around here that building is little more than a reminder of all that’s old and in their way in our once quaint little community. In their haste to create their vision of a future that these few new people hold for our town they seem compelled to obliterate the last remnants of our storied past – and replace them with something new and shiny, with something that speaks of their power and progress, I guess.
For me that building is a reminder of my earliest days in this once delightful little town – before much of the rest of the world discovered us. Very, very many summers ago I split my shopping between the little grocery store “downtown” and Neahkahnie Bob’s store that used to occupy the unusual object of this reverie, when I moved here in the 1970’s. I recognized early on that our distinctive little building was clearly modeled after the imposing blimp hangers down in Tillamook complete with the blocky, but functionless, poritcoes at the south end of “our hanger” that faithfully mimicked the real thing the US Navy built up and down all of our coasts to house the aircraft that were sent aloft to protect our shores during the Second World War. I always like to believe our little “hanger” was designed and built as an homage and even as a memorial to the men and women and their Service that rose to the occasion to defend our Nation in the time of our greatest peril. As you go about your errands in the coming days – and if your travels bring you into Manzanita from that compass quarter – you might at least give a moment’s pause for that building and it’s significance to our community for all of these years, and a final nod to it’s part in our collective story as it completes it’s rendezvous with time. I also invite you to give a thought to those young men and women for whom in it’s youth it was valued as much more than just an old eyesore.

Richard Mastenik, Manzanita