As much as we hate to see history destroyed, we feel the city of Petersburg did the right thing by having the deteriorating John Nash Building taken down. At some point, public safety has to supersede any preservationist desire to leave history as it is.

In reality, age and disrepair already had begun the deconstruction process. A wall came tumbling down in mid-December, and bricks were raining down around it as late as Christmas Day.

All Petersburg did was finish what Mother Nature had started.

You have to imagine that the neighboring business owners are able to breathe again. Gone is their ongoing fear that they would come into work one day and find their area a tattered mess. Also gone is the collective logistical headache they had to endure when Bank Street traffic had to be rerouted any time a Band-Aid needed to be applied to fix the building’s latest “ouchie.” And over the past several decades, there had been so many patches put on that building, it was more like an oversized quilt than an historical structure.

Petersburg had the same situation with the Nash Building as any pet owner would have had dealing with an old, terminally ill furry loved one. Sure, you try to make it as comfortable as possible because you can’t stand the thought of going through life without it. But at the same time, you also know that life extension and life quality are not always the same.

The Nash Building had served its purpose. For 207 years, it was a proud Bank Street landmark that had seen Petersburg through the good times (Old Towne redevelopment) and the bad (Siege of Petersburg, Tornado of 1993). It even kept a war wound as a reminder of just what it had seen.

In short, it was the Nash Building’s time.

Its memorial service last week was quite a sendoff. Folks stood at the barricades around the building and sang it to its rest as construction equipment strategically and meticulously took it apart. People who loved the building were asking for mementos of its proud life … doors, bricks, anything that will remind them of the impact that old structure had on their lives. We have no problem with that, either, because it only is natural to want to keep a memory of a loved one.

Commendations must be given to the city for recognizing that the end had come, as well as to the preservationists who fought the good fight to save it, all the while understanding that their labor likely would be in vain.

It is our sincere hope that everyone will work together to find a suitable replacement for that building’s spot, perhaps something that will see Petersburg through its next 207 years.

But for now, let’s move ahead with the knowledge that the John Nash Building, which so stoically stood and witnessed Petersburg’s amazing history, now belongs to that history.