Central Ohio's Japanese Tea House isn't the only well-known structure that's disappearing this month.
Seneca County's courthouse in the county seat of Tiffin is disappearing, too.
After a bitter fight lasting the better part of the last decade, county commissioners finally decided to demolish the structure late last year after savage state budget cuts left them with no good way to pay for the necessary renovations.
This is apparently the first time that an Ohio courthouse on the National Register of Historic Places will have been demolished. It will leave a big hole in the center of Tiffin - a hole that won't be filled any time soon, if ever. Trials and other normal courthouse functions are apparently being held in a "temporary" location that is hard if not impossible for those in wheelchairs to get into.....
Like many of the Ohio courthouses built in the 1800s, Tiffin's (built in 1884) used to be a pretty impressive place.
Here's a postcard view of it, circa 1944:
And here's a more recent view:
I think it was back in the 1950s that the original clock tower was replaced by a streamlined version that never failed to startle me as I passed by during my semi-regular trips through town in the 1980s and 1990s. (Apparently Seneca County has a long history of not being able to come up with the money to do things right.)
Here are two views from the last few weeks:
If this destruction were the prelude to bigger and better things it would of course be much easier to accept. Instead, it seems like just one more sign of the decline and fall of Ohio (if not the US as a whole).
Like so much of Ohio, Tiffin seems to have peaked in about 1970. Since that time it's lost nearly 20% of its population. It now has significantly fewer people than it did in 1950.
Is there a limit to the decline short of zero?
I don't know.
But I don't think I'd bet on things bouncing back much in my lifetime.
(To learn much more about all this, go here. Want to get a better idea of what's being lost? Go here and here.)