A trip downtown

The four Rogers Brothers had that “vision thing.”

This afternoon I wandered the streets of downtown Beaumont, Texas. I had not given downtown a close inspection since coming back after the hurricane. All in all it didn’t look significantly different than before Rita with the exception of debris here and there.

Obviously, the David Cargill sculpture of the Rogers Brothers outside the Art Museum of Southeast Texas (pictured above) seemed to come through the storm okay. The four Rogers Brothers founded Texas State Optical in the 1930s, which was one of the first, if not the first, eyeglass company to have both an optometrist and glasses at the same location. They were quite successful. I would have probably named the sculpture something like: “The eyes have it.” Yuk.

I can’t tell whether this building was damaged in the storm. My guess is that it was just a big empty shell before the hurricane. It’s a shame this old structure is going to ruin. It’s got nice lines. I could see it with lofts or as an office building. But then my visions aren’t quite as keen as those of the Rogers Brothers.

Some want to use the storm damage as an opportunity to make downtown something beyond just a destination during the business day and duirng nighttime at the Crockett Street Entertainment District. I think making downtown a little more vibrant is an idea worth considering, provided that it is done right. I’d hate to see us end up with even more broken-down and empty buildings down there.

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