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Voices of Burgess Hall

The Oldest Standing Public Building in Independence Heights
Written by students from Hogg Middle School

Hey You! Yeah You! Look At Me!
by Elizabeth Smith

Help Me
by Karina Jimenez

___After so many years of service for you, now you’re just turning your back to me. How do you think that makes me feel? I’ve always let you sleep on me, dance on me, and watch movies in me.
___ It’s now time for you to help me stay on my feet and become once again the famous “Burgess Hall.” After all, it is your city and you sure don’t want people to think the worst of the community, right? So help me just by gathering with all of these wonderful people and giving a little bit of yourself. I know you can do it!
___ There are people out there who possibly think,” We should tear down this house,” and others who say, “We should restore it.” If you think that tearing me down is the way to go, that’s fine, but just think about how I served you! On the other side, if you want to help me, you’re welcome to.
___ Just think in the future of what you might turn me into. I could be a great disco or even a flea market! Who knows? Just come on and help me to help you.
  ___Burgess Hall—that’s what I am known as. I am going to talk about me. I am a house that has been located at 7322 Houston Avenue (North Main) at least from 1928 to 2003. I have served many people and hope to serve many more.
___ You must be wondering why I am talking to you. The reason is that they are thinking of tearing me down or building me up again. I am really damaged, but it is not my fault.
___ When I was built, I felt very happy. The vibrations on the wall from people dancing, children playing, and viewers enjoying movies all kept me standing. People would actually look at me and praise me—not like today.
___ Little by little people started to abandon me, but I didn’t know why. I felt sadder and sadder day after day. Nobody was there to take care of me. My walls were falling apart; my grass was almost as tall as me. Since there was nobody to take care of me, I was a mess. Everyone was running their own businesses and didn’t have time for me. My beautiful white colors turned into a muddy brown. I didn’t like the feeling of being ignored.
___ I am a historical figure that should keep on standing, so I’m begging you to help me be around for your grandchildren and many generations to come. What harm would it do to the community to help me stand up? I will be helpful to the community and maybe even to you. You may need a place to stay or a conference room, and you will be welcome to come in. So what I’m basically saying is, “What goes around comes around.” If you help me, I will someday help you.

Should Burgess Hall be Saved?
by Ali Willis

___Hello, I am Burgess Hall. I am 82 years old and I need to be saved. I am deteriorating, falling apart, and I am in a very bad shape. Why should I be saved?
In 1920 when I was built I was beautiful. I was a school, a business, a movie theater, and a wonderful place to live. But look at me now! Roaches swarm, spiders crawl, rats gnaw at what used to be hardwood, and the termites chew and bite me. My wires are down, my electricity no longer works, and my love is no longer needed. “HELP with capital H-E-L-P!” I want kids to crawl my stairs, people to watch my movies because I want to be needed! Why doesn’t anybody care!
___ Some people were not happy with their business and they left to start their own. The people decided that they were going to build a new school and children left my love. My movie theater was sold out by a Cinema hardly anyone could afford. Soon everybody left. “How could they?” I asked. “Wasn’t I good enough? Why did they leave me?” I hoped and prayed until one man came. An unknown man came to see what Independence Heights was all about. When he saw me, he thought he made a mistake in address. “NO, DON’T LEAVE I SCREAMED. He can’t hear me and it’s hopeless!’’ But I was so wrong.
___ An article came out about me! It stated what bad condition I was in and the man that came really did want to save me. Yeah! But wait a minute, is this a joke or something? The founders did not want to waste money on an old house that everybody left. I might be old, but I am worth it. If the new things would not have been built, kids would have been in my school, people would be working for me, and tourists would watch my movies.
___ SEE! Just wait and see what will happen to me in the future?

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