And before that, the area around the building was part of a cluster of small scale manufacturers which hugged the banks of the Batten kill and helped make that part of Manchester known as "Factory Point." Now a new complex of buildings, which may include a small scale restaurant but is more likely to be used mostly for retail purposes is coming to take the place of the former Sirloin Saloon. If one were to judge solely by the reactions posted on The Journal's Facebook page, that's an unappealing prospect for some. How such an admittedly unscientific sampling of opinion reflects community sentiment at large is another question.
But times change, the fortunes of businesses wax and wane, and clearly the market place decided that the last version of the Sirloin Saloon wasn't competitive enough to cut it in the current restaurant environment of Manchester. Ten, 20, 30 years ago, it did. But not so recently. Sentiment doesn't pay the rent. A profitable business does. It's far preferable for the site to be cleared and a new business spring up that will generate jobs and commercial activity than for the building to slowly rot away and become an eyesore in the heart of town. We hope the new enterprise that will occupy that space will be a success and help move the rejuvenation of the downtown core along.
To everything there is a season, the Book of Ecclesiastes says, and that includes an ending. If we were never to tear down the old to make way for the new, we would be living in a static museum that would be at best unappealing. So long as the criteria involving preservation of historic structures that still have a useful purpose are observed, the appropriate balance point between preservation and creative destruction can be struck.
Anyone who has lived around here for more than a handful of years is likely to be able to remember dining at the Sirloin at least once or twice, and it's part of the recent fabric of the town that is sad to see go. Memory is a powerful thing. If it could have survived as a viable restaurant, it would have. But it didn't. So something else will now take its place, and in due course, something else will replace that. At least we hope it does, when that time arrives.