Historic building will be missed

Another piece of Milford history will soon disappear when the Pine Valley School building on Elm Street is torn down to make way for a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot.

“They paved paradise, put up a parking lot,” Joni Mitchell sang in “Big Yellow Taxi,” and while the Pine Valley School building probably wasn’t paradise, neither was it a parking lot.

But it soon will be.

Ah, history: Who cares?

Actually, lots of people care, undoubtedly even the owner of Dunkin’ Donuts, but parking is important, too, especially to a business, as is the drive-thru that will be expanded so that people who just can’t seem to get out of their cars and walk a few dozen feet into a building can just sit and idle and get their coffee and whatever through (or is it “thru?) a window.

Historic sites seem to get short shrift in any contest between them and commercial enterprises. Many recall what happened with the historic Stone House on Milford’s Nashua Street several years ago: It became part of a condo complex where it is squeezed between cheap-looking buildings. Sure, some of the old stone building remains, but for all intents and purposes, it is gone. Anyone seeing it for the first time will have no idea that it was once significant because of its connection to the area’s once-thriving granite business.

That won’t be the case with the Pine Valley School. When it’s gone, it will be gone, period.

We understand the desire to expand, the desire to take a successful business and, through (or is it “thru”?) expansion make it even more successful and when history gets in the way, the odds are that history is going to lose.

It’s a pity, but what can you do?