In regard to last weeks’ update about my hunt for the former location of the long forgotten Neosho Tabernacle (circa 1910-1916), an acquaintance joshed me a little by inquiring into the “historical and historiographical significance” of my search.
Although he was just giving me a hard time, I’ll go ahead and respond to that here.
Too many people simply live in a place because they have to live somewhere. It might as well be any place for all it matters to them. I don’t mean to imply that my acquaintance feels that way. I’m sure he doesn’t. But others do. I see it every day. So do you. Drive down certain streets in your town and look around and the dilapidated condition of many neighborhoods. Too many people take no pride in their residence – be they rent or own – because they take no pride in their community (and perhaps themselves). But perhaps they don’t care about their community simply because they don’t know much about it. However, were you to point out to them just one thing about the place they live – such as “this” or “that” happened here, at this spot, then maybe, just maybe, they may feel more a part of their community and thus take more pride in it. Just this past Friday I shared something about a past Neosho landmark with a couple of adolescents whose parents may not have even been born in this country, and they seemed to be genuinely curious about it. Now they know something about the town they live in that not everyone else knows. Now they may care more about it. That is one reason I want to know where the Neosho Tabernacle was located. That is one reason I bring you all with me on that hunt.
Another reason why searching for the Neosho Tabernacle is important, and from a “historical and historiographical” standpoint, is that in this country we know relatively little about past landmarks because we don’t hold onto most of them. We use, tear down, and build new, for the most part. The past is pushed aside to make room for the present and then forgotten. Yeah, so? Well, it isn’t that way everywhere (take a trip to Ireland). I think it is important to know what came before, simply for the historical record. It baffles me that some don’t believe so. The historical record is linked to knowledge and knowledge is linked to pride – the pride of place. The pride of home.
If you have something to share about the place you live, please write to me at Wes Franklin, 12161 Norway Rd., Neosho, MO 64850. At the least you can be assured you are sharing the information with someone who is genuinely interested in it, and that it will not be lost to time.
Wes Franklin writes a weekly column for the Daily News.