Monday, July 05, 2010

False Front Town, Winchester, ID


Stephen Bly
Copyright@1993,2007

Early architecture in the old west never won any prizes. A scarcity of building materials. Little time available for construction. Scant thought to design. These elements produced a scattered array of tents, tent-top buildings, log cabins, and adobe hovels. And occasional tract-type wood frame abodes that resembled various stages of tumble-down shacks. 

This worked fine, until a town flourished enough that business entrepreneurs brought competition. The capitalistic drive to attract customers kicked in. Thus, the false front building emerged. The basic idea centered on creating an extra wall that extended above or beyond the original building. 

A small, slant-roofed dwelling could look from the front like an upscale department store or two-story palace. At a quick glance, a settlement lined with false fronts seemed larger, more prosperous than it was. A clever, acceptable design for an emerging frontier. 

I liked this idea so much, I built a false front town in my yard. It's so fake there's no real buildings at all behind it. Pure entertainment for home bar-b-ques and the occasional tourist who drives by. We call it Broken Arrow Crossing, after my first Stuart Brannon novel: Hard Winter At Broken Arrow Crossing.
 
That may be okay for buildings, but not for me. 

It's tempting sometimes to be spiritual by erecting a false front. Rather than tackle a personal defect, I can try to spruce it up to appear more presentable...such as, call it a different name, assign some high-sounding motive. I've learned over the years, instead, to remodel my thoughts by flooding my habits and prejudices with biblical truth.

The best pursuit in life is knowing God, says J. I. Packer. The best major in the school of trials and troubles is growing in true, deep knowledge of a holy God who's full of rich goodness. 

Understand his will. Learn my place in his plan. Then, I'll truly transform...not the fakey changey type to impress others, but becoming the real and best me God intended when I was created.

Jesus didn't hold much stock with folks who put up false fronts. He got real blunt about it: People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds (Matthew 23:28, MSG)

I want to be real in the skin that shows...with all its blotches and age spots.
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Have you ever seen a false front town? Where was it and what was its purpose?
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6 comments:

Tina Dee Books said...

I absolutely love this! Will you permit me to guest post it on my blog with a link back to your blog and an intro to you and a few of your books?

"The best pursuit in life is knowing God, says J. I. Packer. The best major in the school of trials and troubles is growing in true, deep knowledge of a holy God who's full of rich goodness.

Understand his will. Learn my place in his plan. Then, I'll truly transform...not the fakey changey type to impress others, but becoming the real and best me God intended when I was created."

Great words of wisdom! Thanks for sharing!

Anita Mae Draper said...

My grandmother's house had a false front. I always thought it neat how the house was different from all the others in the neighborhood. I was a teenager before I realized the reason it was such a strange set-up inside was because it had been built as a store before the area turned into a residential neighbourhood.

Oh, good analogy. :D

Anita.

Stephen Bly said...

Tina: Thanks for your note and request. I would be delighted to have you do a guest post on your blog.

Stephen Bly said...

Anita: Thanks for your comments. Interesting reason for your grandmother doing the false-front.

Carla Gade said...

This was a great post. I bet you have a lot of fun with Broken Arrow Crossing in your yard, but it really makes for a good illustration.

Praying for you and Janet today!

Stephen Bly said...

Carla: Thanks much for your note. . .and prayers! Greatly appreciated!