Tonight a Flickr member posted this comment on my photo of the Chatham County Courthouse: “I will miss this building terribly.” Miss it? Was he moving away, perhaps? Surely they weren’t planning to demolish it? I looked at my statistics and saw that I had gotten a spike in views on this picture this evening, and wondered what was going on. A quick search have me the answer: this building was seriously damaged in a fire today. A sad thing. I hate the fact that nearly every article about the fire at this 1881 building mention its role in the John Edwards sex tape dispute. It shouldn’t be remembered that way.
When I talk about why I take so many photographs of buildings and want everyone else to do the same, I always say, “It could burn down tonight! It could be gone tomorrow and then all we’d have is photographs.” Which is true, but then when buildings I’ve photographed happen to burn down, I have a small, irrational feeling that maybe I caused it.
I remember taking this picture. I was visiting my daughter and her boyfriend (now husband) in North Carolina and we drove out to Pittsboro for lunch and spent some time poking around in the shops. It was a cool, damp, overcast day, but I was happy to be in the South and away from the New England weather. We were getting back in the car and I stopped for a minute to take this picture. Not an especially good picture, but good enough to remember the building and remind me of a very nice day. And now it’s gone.