One thing I try to impress on my students is that things aren’t always what they seem or what you expect. Things change over time and that’s one reason why studying history from written, visual, and spoken records is so important. What object A or place B was during 1850 isn’t necessarily what it is today. That hit home for me in the summer of 2010 when I was able to visit Eagle’s Nest (one of Hitler’s birthday presents, to be used as a retreat/place for entertaining). World War 2 and the Holocaust are my historical specialty, so even though my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we made a point of taking a tour of Eagle’s Nest. To say it was slightly disappointing was an understatement. For one thing, the weather was horribly overcast as you can see in the pictures below.
For another thing, there was only one room we saw on the tour that had been relatively unchanged since 1945 (if I recall correctly it was Eva Braun’s bedroom). The rest of Eagle’s Nest had been turned into a restaurant!!!!! So here I am, WW2 buff, super excited about being in SUCH a historic location that I never expected to get to, and it’s been turned into a restaurant!!!! Standing in a room trying to hear the tour guide tell us about a fireplace that was original to when Eagle’s Nest was built while surrounded by people eating and plates and silverware clanking was less than ideal for appreciating the location we were in.
Yes it was cool that you walk through a tunnel and go up to the main building via an elevator, yes it was cool that I was standing where history had happened, but the atmosphere was that of a modern restaurant and the historian in me lamented that the building had not been turned into a museum or something that catered a bit more to historically minded tourists. Well, it is what it is and I can still say I was there but it does make you think about how many other noteworthy buildings or artifacts, let alone every day type places from history, only exit in memory now or have been turned into banks, or have been bulldozed to make room for a shopping center, or their historic value have just been lost over time. And yes I know not EVERYTHING can be preserved, but it does make me wonder what from today will still be around in 100 years for future people to visit and see to step back into our time.