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233 ChaptER 26 Open Windows Our extraordinary nine­ teenth-­ century men and women—whether buried in New Harmony or elsewhere , whether they remained for long or short periods—have captivated me as much as Homer’s heroes of ancient Greece stirred the imagination of a young grocer’s apprentice in the small German town of Fürstenberg in the early 1900s. Heinrich Schliemann was an insatiable reader of the Iliad. He believed that Homer had not invented the Trojan War or the assailants and defenders of Troy. Schliemann, unlike the archeologists of his day, believed that Homer was writing about real, not fictional, events and people. Members of Eu­ ro­ pe­ an and British learned societies scoffed at the untrained amateur. They did not, however, finance or lead excavations into Asia Minor. They did not unearth civilizations far older than Troy or discover Agamemnon’s palace at Mycenae and the gold in his beehive tomb. Granted, Schliemann’s exploits belong to the history of archeology, not to 234 New Harmony, indiana New Harmony. But the story of this ­ self-­ taught, highly motivated amateur bolstered my courage during my bleakest days of restoration. The National Trust for Historic Preservation began as a helpful insti­ tution that had brought its early leaders, Fred Rath, Richard “Dick” Howland , and my good angel with the tilted crown, Helen Bullock, to my rescue. Having become larger and more affluent, this body did not take seriously for de­cades our creative and dynamic approach to restoration in New Harmony. Cradled in a living past, guests can sit, sleep, and work comfortably in our historic homes. And, we ­ were ahead of our time with our marriage of the past with the present that gave birth to the future. This adaptive approach to historic preservation was consistent with Professor Tillich’s own views of the relationship of the past to the future, best expressed, perhaps, in this quotation from The Religious Situation: “To understand the present means to see it in its inner tension toward the future. In this field also, there is such a thing as spiritual perspective and the possibility of finding amid all the infinite aspirations and tensions which every present contains not only those which conserve the past but also those which are creatively new and pregnant with the future.”1 I am pleased, however, that the National Trust did, over the de­ cades, come to recognize the significance of our efforts and of the importance of the preservation that has taken place in New Harmony. In the fall of 2008, the Trust recognized and honored my efforts by bestowing on me the prestigious Louise DuPont Crowninshield Award, named for a woman I had known. I was deeply gratified to accept this award, not for myself, but rather on behalf of New Harmony and the hundreds of persons who have contributed to its preservation and continuing vitality. Schliemann’s dogged per­ sis­ tence taught me that sustained passion matters more than one’s inadequacies or the stigma of initial and numerous blunders. Schliemann’s errors, of course, ­ were on a larger scale than mine. For instance, while excavating for the ruins of Troy, he bypassed a civilization older than that of Homer’s Achaeans, in the pro­ cess destroying irreplaceable artifacts. Nonetheless, he atoned for his sins by engaging professional help and continued to unearth im­ mense and ­ long-­ buried trea­sures. However helpful the lessons of Schliemann’s life, I began to realize that passion and financial resources alone ­ were not equal to the task before me. If New Harmony’s ­ long-­ closed windows to the world ­ were to open, Open Windows 235 wise and ­ large-­ hearted people would have to help me raise them. My experience on Indian Mound, real or imagined, taught me that my efforts alone would only rattle the sash of closed windows. Our windows, once open, would need to be wide enough for people—wise or not, courageous or fearful—not only to peer inside but also to be welcomed within. I have already expressed gratitude to New Harmony residents who shared their ideas and talents with me, but I’ve not adequately thanked allies beyond our borders. John Craine, bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis, was the first outsider to give our window an upward shove. He directed able parish priests of our St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church: Rufus Simons, Ernest Tilley, Ralph Markey, Arthur “Art” Hadley, Gene Harshman, Robert Webb, and the Glovers, the last with...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253016638
Related ISBN
9780253016249
MARC Record
OCLC
903357020
Pages
400
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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