In contrast to Robert K. Elliot’s view [Letters to the Editor, Feb. 12], I see the water tower as a tribute to Hastings’ vanishing working class. 

I came to Hastings 26 years ago and stumbled upon St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, 52 Main Street. When I was invited to enter I was reconnected to people and a heritage that I thought had vanished. The old timers were very much like my parents, and I reveled in their company. The parishioners, their kin, and their forebears were very strongly connected to industrial Hastings. I enjoyed their stories of swimming and fishing in the Hudson and colorful tales of events at their now-vanished watering holes. I admired and still try to emulate their fortitude, endurance, and love of life.

When I see the water tower I think of the workers not as a faceless oppressed mass, but as people who built lives and families in the face of scarcity and adversity, people with heart and humor who lived with gusto. I see people who made a great contribution to the growth and vitality of Hastings-on-Hudson.

The last mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka took place in October 2005. Fifty-two Main Street then became The Purple Crayon Center for Learning and Social Innovation, then shifted its focus to adults and elided itself to Purpl. Today the purple shingles have weathered to a dull hue that suggests “teardown” as it sits on the market with an asking price of $1,250,000.  

To me, this building and the water tower are of a piece: a piece of Hastings history that should not be forgotten.

The future of 52 Main Street hangs in the balance at the mercy of the real estate market. Maybe the water tower can survive if we want to memorialize the spirit of citizens past in the hope that their lives can inspire citizens future.

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