What More Could We Have Done?


It had been a gloomy day. Around 5pm, and an eerie darkness seemed to enveloped the Historic Bear Lake County Courthouse. As I walked around the barricade to take photos of the building as I often did I noticed the sheriff driving around the building several times. Something unusual was happening. As I was about to drive off, I noticed a long stream of cars on the road, and behind them were yellow flashing caution lights. By now the sun was slowly disappearing behind the West Mountains of Paris. The giant machinery was unloaded on the North side of the courthouse. The fence was opened and the equipment entered.

I noticed a small group of four gathered at the scene, in addition to the crew and the two police officers. The clouds had thickened and encircled the historic courthouse like a warm blanket, as if to protect the building. The air was crisp and cold. Then like a thief in the night, the arm of this large machine reached upward…like a can opener it attempted to tear into the roof. Again and again, the operator attempted to crash through the roof, but the building stood determined not to be breached. Snowflakes started to fill the air like teardrops from heaven. Aiming at a small hole in the roof the operator administered repeated blows with the giant bucket. It took three excruciating blows before I glimpsed three layers of bricks that fortified the walls finally giving way. In that surreal moment I could almost imagine each brick being carefully placed there by our forefathers..

Dust encircled the area, brick was thrown into the air, beams and wood splintered with a sickening sound. That was the beginning of the end. The building would never again be as it was or as it could have been. I watched helplessly as 135 years of our history was being erased as if it never existed. By now any light was gone and darkness filled the air. It made the reality of all that was about to be lost even more poignant. The next morning I returned to the scene. Although the 135 year old treasure had been seriously damaged, the sun shone, and the building was illuminated as though it might be resurrected. Those final moments of this historic building’s life, were majestic and proud. Those who had eyes to see her beauty will forever mourn the vision of what this building was and could have been for many years to come. History won’t forget this grand building,

Laurie Rich

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